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Science File

Hope for Marburg Treatment

April 29, 2006|From Reuters

A vaccine that protects monkeys against the deadly Marburg virus also may provide the first known treatment, researchers have reported.

The researchers hope to use a similar vaccine to prevent and treat Ebola, a virus related to Marburg. Both viruses have caused outbreaks in Africa and are considered potential bioterrorism agents.

The vaccine was created using the harmless vesicular stomatitis virus. The researchers replaced one gene with a key Marburg gene.

When researchers infected monkeys with Marburg and then administered the vaccine, the monkeys stayed healthy, said Thomas W. Geisbert of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.

Unvaccinated monkeys died within 12 days.

Because the vaccine was effective in monkeys given high doses of virus, it should be effective in a human outbreak, which typically involves lower doses, Geisbert said.

The findings, reported Wednesday, are published in this week's issue of the Lancet.

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