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Ebola protein discovery could clear path for treatment

Posted at 10:44 PM, Aug 13, 2014

As the medical community scrambles to find ways to combat the deadly Ebola virus, researchers found new clues to just how the deadly virus messes with the immune system — clues that could lead to future treatments.

When an infection enters the body, proteins called interferons send an alert to the body's antiviral immune system that something bad is happening. That message carrier, labeled "STAT1," gets a kind of super highway or "emergency access lane" to deliver the alert to the immune system's nucleus as quickly as possible, so the body can start battling the virus.

Now, here's where the researchers say Ebola is different. The deadly virus comes equipped with a protein called VP24 which zeros in on STAT1 and blocks it from rolling down that super highway, thus keeping the immune system in the dark, so it can't put its defense system in action.

Find out more with this Newsy video.