Researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), in cooperation with other institutions, conducted a detailed analysis of a patient with a severe case of Ebola, tracking changes in antiviral and immune response genes as the patient fought the disease and recovered.
The patient, who was infected in 2015, was in the NIH Clinical Center for 26 days and was admitted on the seventh day of illness. While the patient did not receive any experimental drugs to treat the virus, intensive supportive care, like fluids and electrolytes, was provided.
In a recently released study, researchers showed that as the virus cleared from the patient's white blood cells, the antiviral response declined significantly. Further, the patient’s responses changed rapidly from gene activation related to cell damage and inflammation to activation related to cellular and organ repair, a change that began before the patient exhibited clinical signs of improvement.
The team, led by the researchers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) studied blood samples that were taken daily throughout the patient's 26 days in the NIH Clinical Center. The results can be used to aid the development therapeutics, showing which host responses should be boosted or accelerated, and to create better prognostic criteria to ensure patients are treated in ways to best promote their recovery.
Other researchers on the study include those from the NIH Clinical Center, the Institute for Systems Biology and the U.S. Army Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.