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Drug for Ebola-like virus promising in ill monkeys

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 3:23pm
Lauran Neergaard - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press

Texas researchers are reporting that an experimental drug saved monkeys from a virus closely related to Ebola even after symptoms began.

The drug targets a strain of Marburg virus that is even more lethal than the Ebola currently ravaging West Africa. Both viruses take time to multiply in the body before symptoms appear, and few studies have explored how late treatment might be effective.

Researchers at the Univ. of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston found that treated monkeys survived even if given the drug three days after infection, when symptoms had begun.

Although Wednesday's study is very small, the work is generating interest because a drug that targets Ebola the same way is under development by a Canadian company, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp.

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