Ebola virus can remain in the brain for years and return with a fatal outcome

(ORDO NEWS) — New animal studies have shown that the Ebola virus can persist in the brain for years after infection and can reappear, causing a potentially fatal disease. Relapse does not stop even treatment with monoclonal antibodies.

A study in monkeys treated with monoclonal antibodies showed that the virus can hide in the brain and sometimes come back.

The Ebola virus is a rare but deadly virus that has caused outbreaks in Guinea and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in recent years. The virus spreads between humans and other primates through bodily fluids, and approximately 50% of infections are fatal. However, a new monoclonal antibody treatment approved in 2020 has improved patients’ chances of survival.

In 2021, a new Ebola outbreak occurred and was linked to people who had previously had the disease. Hence, scientists suggested that the virus can persist in the body for many years. However, they did not know how and where exactly he was hiding.

In a new study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine , scientists intentionally infected 36 rhesus monkeys ( Macaca mulatta ) with Ebola. The team treated the animals with monoclonal antibodies and analyzed the organs for traces of the virus.

The results showed that in seven monkeys, the virus remained in the brain. At the same time, two animals later died due to a second outbreak of Ebola.

“We found that about 20% of monkeys who survived Ebola virus exposure after treatment with monoclonal antibodies still had persistent Ebola virus infection, especially in the ventricular system of the brain, which produces, circulates and retains cerebrospinal fluid, even when the virus Ebola was removed from other organs,” the scientists write.

The researchers emphasize that treatment with monoclonal antibodies can not always completely rid the patient of the virus. They believe that combination therapy with antiviral drugs and antibody treatment may be required to completely eradicate Ebola from the body.

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