A team of researchers led by Gaya Amarasinghe, associate professor of Pathology and Immunology at Washington University School of Medicine, was recently awarded a $13 million NIH grant to study the replication process of the Ebola virus. The research team aims to understand the enzyme complex that the virus uses to replicate. While their main goal is not to discover a cure to the deadly virus, they do expect that their findings will lead to development of drugs that can treat it. According to Dr. Amarasinghe, “the replication complex is the only enzyme this virus has, and traditionally enzymes are good drug targets.”
Ebola virus is severe and often fatal, with death rates as high as 90 percent, according to the WHO. Unfortunately there are not yet any approved vaccines or specific drugs. The Ebola virus used to be mostly limited to small outbreaks in central Africa, but the large epidemic that began in 2014 in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone has brought attention to this virus' potential impact.
“My lab has been studying Ebola for some time, but the epidemic from 2014 to 2016 showed us that it has significant potential to impact global health,” said Dr. Amarasinghe. “As we watched the epidemic unfold, I think we also realized that there’s a lot we don’t know about the basic biology of the virus, and that limits our ability to find ways to target it therapeutically.”
The grant was provided by the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health. Other grants recently given to Washington University life science researchers include:
- $4.3 million from the Alzheimer’s Association to support ongoing research into treatment to prevent early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
- A $3.7 million research grant from the NIH's National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, given to support ongoing diabetes research at WashU's Center for Diabetes Translation Research.
With high levels of research funding, Washington University in St. Louis is a strong marketplace for lab and chemical supply companies to find new scientific product sales leads. Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. produces an annual BioResearch Product Faire™ event at Washington University that gives life science researchers the chance to find new lab products and technologies that will help them in their labs. Lab suppliers have the chance to meet with these researchers face-to-face in an intimate and professional environment to help researchers find the products they need.
The next event at Washington University, the 18th Semiannual BioResearch Product Faire™ Event, will take place on March 31, 2017. Companies interested in exhibiting can click the button below for more information.