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Discovery Of Weak Spot On Deadly Ebolavirus

Scientists from The Scripps Research Institute and the US Army's Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases have isolated and analyzed an antibody that neutralizes Sudan virus, a major species of ebolavirus and one of the most dangerous human pathogens.

"We suspect that we've found a key spot for neutralizing ebolaviruses," said Scripps Research Associate Professor Erica Ollmann Saphire, who led the study with US Army virologist John M. Dye.

The new findings, which were reported in an advance online edition of Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, show the antibody attaches to Sudan virus in a way that links two segments of its coat protein, reducing their freedom of movement and severely hindering the virus's ability to infect cells. The protein-linking strategy appears to be the same as that used by a previously discovered neutralizing antibody against the best-known ebolavirus species, Ebola-Zaire. The new study suggests that this may be the best way for vaccines and antibody-based therapies to stop ebolaviruses.

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