For people who are suffering from the dreaded disease Ebola, the light at the end of the tunnel may seems imminent as there is an herb in China that shows potential of becoming a treatment for the viral disease Ebola that has wrecked havoc in Western Africa and spread enormous fear worldwide.
The Chinese herb has a compound which is also called tetrandrine which permanently traps the Ebola virus inside the cells it has plagued making it immobile and harmless.
The researchers report in the journal Science that the Laboratory experiments will reveal that the tetrandrine molecule has restrained infection in the human white blood cells, and has also thwarted the virus disease in mice in laboratory tests.
Dr. Robert Davey of the Department of Immunology and Virology at Texas Biomedical Research Institute stated that, “When we tested in mice, the drugs stopped virus replication and saved most of them from disease.” Dr. Davey added, “The work has revealed a new chink in the armor of Ebola virus,” and can be possibly used as a treatment for infected people in between two to five years.
To date, there is no approved drug-based medicine, vaccine or remedy to combat the virus that already claimed the lives of over 9,400 lives and it is currently infecting thousands of people in West Africa.
The virus is contagious and may lead to hemorrhagic fever which can be transmitted from one individual to another via contact with bodily fluids.
In order to penetrate and infect a cell, the Ebola virus must progress deep inside it prior to ripping apart the cell’s bubble-like endosomes. Endosomes are basically intracellular sorting organelles that control the build -up of proteins and lipids among other subcellular compartments of the endocytic and secretory and pathway, particularly the plasma membrane Golgi, trans-Golgi network (TGN)
The researchers discovered that the pathways essential for regulating the movements of the “bubbles” within a cell can be impeded by tetrandrine, effectively trapping the virus within the bubbles so it cannot escape, infect the cell and procreate. This way the virus cannot escape and reproduce, thus it is destroyed within the cell and this will stop the infection.
The medicinal herb Stephania tetrandra contains the compound Tetrandrine.
To date the drug is approved for human use in China where it is utilized to reduce blood pressure.
However, a virologist at the University of Saskatchewan Darryl Falzarano who didn’t take part in the study has said otherwise as it quipped that the drugs may have some pitfalls as a treatment for the Ebola virus. The drug is prohibited in the vast majority of countries worldwide, since the human dose equivalent of what was used to the mice in the laboratory tests could be lethal.
Moreover, the drug’s effectiveness in the mice lab tests plummets if the treatment will be administered late even for just one day.
Falzarano also said that a medication drug that can prevent infection in someone that had already acquired the virus is not probable, as he is in favor of present vaccine research as the best option for coming up with a solution to stop Ebola outbreaks. Falzarano concluding words, “I still think that implementing one of the vaccine platforms will have the most significant public health impact.”