8/21/2014 5:55:21 AM
Ebola-Like Virus Beaten By Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation Drug In Study
August 21, 2014
By Krystle Vermes, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff
Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation (TKMR), a Vancouver-based biopharmaceutical company, announced the publication of data today that shows positive results in the testing of lipid nanoparticle technology for the Marburg virus, an Ebola-like virus.
The study that examined lipid nanoparticle technology was carried out in animals. The goal was to determine if lipid nanoparticle technology could protect species from a Marburg infection. Animals that had detectable levels of the virus in their system were administered the treatment. Researchers wanted to learn if the lipid nanoparticle technology could be effective, even well after the Marburg virus had made its presence known in the body.
Tekmira and its collaborators at University of Texas Medical Branch were able to determine that non-human primates could be protected with the lipid nanoparticle technology, even three days into becoming infected with the virus.
"These positive findings build upon our extensive work in anti-viral RNAi therapeutics and provide further validation of our strong LNP product platform, which includes RNAi therapeutics addressing chronic Hepatitis B infection and lethal hemorrhagic fever viruses," said Mark Murray, M.D., Tekmira's President and CEO.
Marburg Virus and Ebola
Marburg virus can be defined as a hemorrhagic fever virus. It was first identified in 1967 during an epidemic. Marburg virus comes from the same family as the Ebola virus, which can cause death. The symptoms of Marburg virus start abruptly with a fever and headache, and an individual may begin to suffer from haemorrhagic manifestations as soon as five days after contracting the disease.
The Ebola virus has recently made its way into the news due to an outbreak in West Africa. There is currently no vaccination available for those who are infected with Ebola, increasing the risk of death. Ebola spreads through bodily fluids such as sweat or blood. The disease can also be challenging to diagnose shortly after an individual contracts it.
Currently, the Ebola virus death toll in West Africa is at approximately 1,229. As doctors struggle to treat those with the disease, potential treatments from companies such as Tekmira are being viewed more favorable.
Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is focused on using RNAi therapeutics to treat a wide range of diseases. It has also been working in the field of nucleic acid delivery for more than a decade, and strives to provide its lipid nanoparticle technology to other pharmaceutical partners.
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