Researchers identify new target for potential Ebola treatment

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A team of researchers inhibited Ebola virus' ability to spread by targeting a single enzyme crucial to the virus' ability to copy itself, according to a study published in the journal Molecular Cell.

In the laboratory setting, researchers found Ebola relies on the human enzyme PP2A-B56 to replicate itself. By deactivating this enzyme, the team was able to successfully impede the virus' ability to grow.

"When we inhibit the PP2A-B56 enzyme, we remove the first link in a long process, which ends with Ebola spreading," said Jakob Nilsson, PhD, a professor of the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research in Copenhagen, Denmark, and one of the study's authors. "And we can tell that it works. The Ebola infection in cell cultures where we have inhibited the PP2A-B56 enzyme is 10 times smaller after 24 hours compared to infections where we have not inhibited this enzyme."

The researchers hope to test the enzyme-inhibiting process on animals and eventually develop a drug for humans.

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