Drug cures monkeys infected by virus

Scientists however cautioned that the drug's efficacy has not been proven in humans.

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Monkeys administered with an experimental drug have been cured of the deadly Ebola virus, BBC reports.

All 3 monkeys receiving the treatment were healthy when the trial ended after 28 days, while 3 untreated monkeys died within 9 days.

However, scientists cautioned that the drug's efficacy has not been proven in humans.

The treatment, known as TKM-Ebola-Guinea, targets the Makona strain of the virus, which caused the current deadly outbreak in West Africa.

There are currently no treatments or vaccines for Ebola that have been proven to work in humans.

Thomas Geisbert, who is a scientist at the University of Texas and the senior author of the study published in the journal Nature, described it as the first study to show post-exposure protection against the new Makona outbreak strain of Ebola-Zaire virus.

Geisbert said the drug, which was produced by Tekmira Pharmaceuticals and works by blocking particular genes, stopping the virus from replicating, could be adapted to target any strain of Ebola.

He also added that it could be manufactured in as little as eight weeks.

Over 10,000 people have so far died from the Ebola disease since its outbreak with the majority of the casualties being from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

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