Global health R&D at work in Louisiana
Researchers from Tulane University and Louisiana State University have helped discover a possible explanation for the rapid spread of Ebola. The team found that a compound known as the “delta peptide” is produced in large amounts in Ebola patients. The investigators theorize that it may be a specific type of viral protein that damages host cells by making their membranes become permeable; in the case of Ebola, this contributes to severe vomiting, internal bleeding, and extreme gastrointestinal distress in patients—in turn contributing to the virus’ spread. The discovery could lead to new treatments for this deadly and highly contagious disease.