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Experimental Marburg Vaccine Prevents Disease Two Days After Infection

An experimental vaccine developed to prevent outbreaks of Marburg hemorrhagic fever continues to show promise in monkeys as an emergency treatment for accidental exposures to the virus that causes the disease. There is no licensed treatment for Marburg infection, which has a high fatality rate.

In a study of rhesus macaques, 5 of 6 monkeys survived a lethal dose of Marburg virus when treated 24 hours after infection, and 2 of 6 survived when treated 48 hours after infection. Because rhesus macaques typically succumb to Marburg infection faster than humans, the post-exposure treatment window might be extended even further in humans, the study authors say.

The study, overseen by a scientific team from the National Institutes of Health and three other groups with expertise in viral hemorrhagic fevers, was posted online by the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Marburg and Ebola are the only members of the filovirus family. They are hemorrhagic fever pathogens, meaning the infection may lead to shock, bleeding and multi-organ failure. According to the World Health Organization, Marburg hemorrhagic fever has a fatality rate of up to 80 percent, while Ebola fever has a fatality rate of up to 90 percent. Confirmed cases of these hemorrhagic fevers have been reported in about a half-dozen African nations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cases of Marburg have occurred outside Africa, though infrequently. Ebola is not known to be native to other continents, such as North America.
 
 

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