Saturday, January 21, 2017

Molecular Barcode for Ebola Patients

ScienceDaily released an article on January 19th, 2017 that researchers at the University of Liverpool identified a molecular barcode that can determine the probability of a patient dying from Ebola. The barcode was established by collecting blood samples from Ebola patients in West Africa and analyzing genes that may have a correlation with Ebola mortality. Researchers believe that hematological testing that aligns with the molecular barcode can serve as a new diagnostic tool that can help physicians provide more personalized treatment for Ebola patients. To create this barcode, mRNA expression levels of Ebola survivors were compared to those of Ebola patients who died of the virus. Although Ebola mortality is highly dependent on viral load, Professor Julian Hiscox, a virologist at the University of Liverpool, stated that the patients' immune systems plays a crucial role in protecting patients from severe progression of the disease.

Future research hope to expand on the concept of not just analyzing viral load but also understanding which genes are correlated to better protection against the disease. Those with a molecular barcode for high Ebola mortality can be receive more acute care and treatment to prevent the disease from progressing rapidly. Because Ebola is a comprehensive disease that impacts multiple organ systems, an early diagnosis of key Ebola-correlated genes via a simple blood test can be the difference between life and death.

Check out the article here:

~Michelle Bach (Humans and Viruses 2016-2017)

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