AU professor informs community on leading Ebola drug candidate

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - After studying the virus for ten years, a research team at Auburn University has produced a drug candidate that could one day slow or even stop Ebola.

After this news made headlines around the world last month, Dr. Stewart Schneller caught the community up to speed Thursday, September 25, at lecture on campus to explain where they are in the process.

"The compound that has the Ebola activity has now been taken under the direction of the National Institutes of Health to move it along as quickly as possible. Make more of the compound, move it into animal studies and learn more about its mechanism action," explains Schneller, AU professor of chemistry and biochemistry.

In simple terms, Ebola as the ability to turn off the body's natural immune response.

The team has made a tweak in a compound structure that would turn the response back on and they haven't stopped there.

"We moved on to other structure designs based on other data that we had, chemical intuition and we have been successful in moving that project along to maybe some equally exciting or more exciting news," says Schneller.

There are currently no drugs to combat Ebola.

Schneller explained in his lecture how other researchers are developing immunizations that may lessen Ebola's impact.

He hopes his audience took away seriousness of this outbreak and how it is being approached from a number of angles.

"Not only the therapeutically," says Schneller, "but for example, the U.S. Sending the troops there to try to bring some organizations."

The team's findings would be in preparation for the next outbreak and not the current outbreak in west Africa.

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