FREDERICK — A new study authored by Army scientists at Fort Detrick reports that a treatment grown in tobacco plants cured three of seven monkeys that developed symptoms from the deadly Ebola virus.
The Frederick News-Post reports the treatment, called MB-003, had previously been shown to be highly effective in monkeys given the treatment within one or two hours of exposure — 100 percent effective within one hour and 67 percent effective within two hours.
In the study published Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine, researchers waited until the monkeys developed symptoms before administering the treatment.
“In a real outbreak, folks don’t know if they’re infected and we would have to wait for them to show up in a clinic to see if they were infected,” said Dr. Gene Olinger, a virologist with the Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) who helped lead the study.
Researchers say the 43 percent cure rate on symptomatic monkeys shows promise.
MB-003 is made through an effort with San Diego-based Mapp Biopharmaceutical and manufactured using tobacco plants grown under artificial light in Kentucky.
No vaccines or treatments are approved for Ebola virus in humans, which is highly contagious and deadly. The virus is a source of fear in Africa, where outbreaks since 2000 have killed hundreds.