Research ArticleMARBURG VIRUS

Marburg virus infection in nonhuman primates: Therapeutic treatment by lipid-encapsulated siRNA

Science Translational Medicine  20 Aug 2014:
Vol. 6, Issue 250, pp. 250ra116
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3009706

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Medicating Marburg

Marburg virus (MARV) and the closely related filovirus Ebola virus cause severe and often fatal hemorrhagic fever; however, there are currently no vaccines or drugs approved for human use to treat these devastating infections. Thi et al. now report that a lipid-encapsulated siRNA can treat MARV in nonhuman primates after symptom onset. They use lipid nanoparticles to deliver siRNA targeting the MARV nucleoprotein to treated animals at various time points after virus exposure. All animals that received the therapy survived MARV infection, including those that were treated 3 days after infection—a stage when animals are viremic and demonstrate the first clinical signs of disease. Therefore, this approach holds promise as a strategy to treat filovirus infection in humans.