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Monday, June 4, 2012

Hendra Virus Outbreak Forcing Researchers Find A Cure Soon As Possible

hendra virus sample
There is no cure for the time being for the disease that has killed four men and fifty horses since the end of May in Australia. The disease is derived from the Hendra virus, which were first discovered in 1994 in the city of Brisbane.

According to information from the WHO (World Health Organization), Hendra virus (HeV) is a rare virus, and is a zoonotic virus (a virus transmitted to humans from animals). If someone exposed to Hendra Virus, it will cause respiratory diseases, neurological, and death. For farm businesses, Hendra Virus can kill many horses, causing economic losses.

Currently, outbreaks have occurred in Arustralia, forcing the government to disburse funds and researchers attention to find a cure for sufferers Hendra Virus. Monash University researchers have been awarded more than $1.3 million to help find a cure for the deadly Hendra virus.

Associate Professor Anthony Purcell from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology was awarded $637,000 to examine the immune response of the virus’s natural host, the fruit bat. The bats show no apparent symptoms of the virus, but are able to pass it on to horses and humans.

Associate Professor Hans Netter, from the Department of Microbiology, received $368,000 in funding. The team will conduct comparative research in bat and human cell lines to recognise differences in virus-host cell interactions.

Professor Netter said that an understanding of the interactions between the viral pathogen and the host would allow the identification of mechanisms which contribute to disease progression.

“This has an immediate importance for the public, as the identification and characterisation of the virus-host interactions are a prerequisite for effective drug discovery strategies,” Professor Netter said.

Dr Fasseli Coulibaly, also of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology was awarded more than $300,000 to investigate the structure of viral proteins that allow the virus to multiply in infected cells.

This is known as, Hendra Virus is transmitted to people through close contact with infected horses or their body fluids. To date, no human to human transmission of Hendra virus has been documented. However, the results of research conducted by the Australian government is expected to resolve the issue of this outbreak.

Editor: authors of threelas

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