- WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The
viruses that cause AIDS and Ebola, two deadly, contagious and highly feared
diseases, spread through the body using the same mechanism, U.S.-based
researchers said on Friday.
- The researchers, led by Dr. Paul Bieniasz of the Aaron
Diamond AIDS Research Center at New York's Rockefeller University, said
they hoped their finding might lead to the discovery of new drugs to help
treat HIV and Ebola infections.
- Their study, published in the December issue of the
Nature Medicine, shows HIV and Ebola use a protein called Tsg101 to bud
from the cells they infect.
- Both viruses hijack cells, inject their genetic material,
and turn the cells into little virus factories. New copies of the virus
"bud" from the cells in one of the steps of this process, before
going in search of new cells to infect.
- As both HIV and Ebola bud, Tsg101 attaches to the virus
and helps it to emerge from the cell, the researchers reported.
- They said it might be possible to design a drug that
interferes with this process. That would presumably prevent the spread
of the virus in an infected person.
- "It's remarkable to see two such different viruses
share a common budding mechanism," Bieniasz said in a
- "This may present a new target for drugs to treat
HIV and Ebola infection, and our research team has begun working on drug
discovery based on this research."
- To confirm the study findings, the researchers
engineered a hybrid of HIV and Ebola, and a hybrid of HIV and the Tsg101
- Both engineered viruses were able to infect new cells,
- There is no cure for either HIV or Ebola infection. Ebola
causes a hemorrhagic disease that kills 70 percent of its victims within
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