Canadian researchers discover promising new treatment for Ebola infection

Canadian research has potential for global impact

OTTAWA, June 13, 2012 /CNW/ - Researchers at the Public Health Agency of Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) have developed a new and easy-to-manufacture treatment for Ebola infection, one of the world's deadliest diseases. The findings were published today in the Science Translational Medicine journal. The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, today congratulated the researchers on their important achievement.

"The Harper Government is committed to advancing national and international public health," said Minister Aglukkaq. "This groundbreaking discovery is a remarkable achievement and exemplifies the world-class research conducted here in Canada."

Zaire Ebola virus is one of the world's most aggressive viruses. Up to 90 per cent of infections result in death within days of exposure. As there is no approved Ebola vaccine to prevent infection, there is an urgent need for a treatment to improve survival rates after exposure. This new treatment can be effective when administered up to 48 hours after infection.

"Our researchers have seen first hand the terrible effects of the Ebola virus on populations in Africa," said Dr. Frank Plummer, Chief Science Officer at the Public Health Agency of Canada.  "This discovery should pave the way for the development of a new drug that has the potential to save many lives."

While Ebola does not naturally occur in Canada, there is always a small risk that it could be imported into Canada by an infected traveller. Having a safe and effective treatment option at the ready is important to protect Canadians from that risk.

The NML is Canada's leading public health infectious disease laboratory and the only facility in Canada that is permitted to study and work with live haemorrhagic fever viruses such as Ebola and other similarly highly infectious and deadly organisms.


SOURCE PUBLIC HEALTH AGENCY OF CANADA

For further information:

Également offert en français

Health Canada     
Cailin Rodgers
Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Federal Minister of Health
(613) 957-0200

Media Relations 
Public Health Agency of Canada
(613) 941-8189


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