The findings of a new study have now revealed that an Asian herb could actually help prevent Ebola. Up until now, 4500 deaths have occurred due to Ebola, and new cases are being identified in the worst hit countries as they are struggling to deal with the Ebola Virus Disease epidemic which is probably the worst in history.
Currently, the outbreak is worst affecting three countries- Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. The World Health Organization claims that there are around 22,000 cases currently, of which, 8000 people are already killed by the virus. The Ebola virus disease was earlier known as Ebola haemorragic fever, which is a fatal illness for humans.
This virus is usually transmitted to people from wild animal, and then spreads within the human population through human-to-human transmission.
Currently, 5 species of the virus have been identified- Sudan, Reston, Bundibugyo, Zaire and the Tai Forest, of which, 3 are responsible for the outbreak in West Africa last year.
The Ebola virus apparently enters the cell by binding to different types of cell surface proteins and then entering the cell by following a membrane bound route that then transports the virus into different cell compartments.
The researchers have now discovered a small molecule known as Tetrandrine which is derived from an Asian herb, and has shown its potency in inhibiting the infection of white blood cells invitro and has also prevented the spread of the Ebola virus in mice.
What’s more, tetradrine managed to protect the mice from Ebola without any side effects whatsoever. The researchers are quite excited about the progress of this medicine since the world is in the hunt for vaccines and treatments against the Ebola virus.