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The Army Is Playing A Key Role In Finding A Cure For Ebola
Army researchers from Fort Detrick are developing relationships with Ebola survivors in Uganda, who may hold the key to a vaccine or treatment for the deadly disease.
John Dye led a team from the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases on a trip to Uganda in August. Dye is chief of viral immunology at the institute.
"For the last 50 years, there have been Ebola outbreaks all over Africa, and a lot of them have occurred in Uganda," he said.
Uganda is a "hotbed of viruses and bacteria," Dye said, and people there have been living alongside the virus for years.
"We do know that monkeys carry Ebola as well, and monkey meat is a main staple of the diet of people in Africa," he said.
Since 2011, researchers from the institute have traveled to Uganda about every six months to collect samples of Ebola survivors' blood. Certain types of cells in their immune systems may indicate how the body can successfully fight off the disease.
"What's different about them and their status of their body, their genetics or their immune system that allowed them to survive when 70 percent of the other people succumb?" he said.
Some survivors are still suffering problems with eyesight and arthritis, even though they have fought off the virus, Dye said.
As in the West African outbreak, Ebola survivors in Uganda, in East Africa, were often shut out from their communities.
"They couldn't get jobs. They couldn't go back to their previous jobs because they were seen as cursed, where, ironically, the survivors are actually blessed," Dye said.
As researchers from a foreign country, Dye's team had to spend time with native Ugandans to explain why their blood was needed and why the survivors were so important.
"Everywhere we go, we try to get that message across that these individuals are not cursed, they actually are so lucky that they survived this infection that normally kills about 70 percent of the people [that are infected]," Dye said.
The Army institute also sent researchers to Liberia at the height of the West African Ebola outbreak. They helped create the first center to monitor genetic changes in the Ebola virus that may affect the effectiveness of future vaccines and treatments.
The ebola virus.Centers for Disease Control photo.
The genomics center is based at the Liberian Institute for Biomedical Research.
The Army institute has been involved in the development of Ebola treatments including the "ZMapp" drug, which proved to be an effective treatment during the West African outbreak.
The institute developed one of three antibodies in the cocktail-style drug, which is now licensed to a biopharmaceutical company in California.
Dye said the institute's current work focuses on treating and vaccinating against other strains of the virus, which are genetically separate from the strain that caused the most deaths in the West African outbreak, but still share the characteristics of Ebola.
"We don't know what the next outbreak is going to be. ... If it's one of these others that comes out of the woods, we don't really have anything in the cupboard" to treat it, Dye said.
Alternatively, a vaccine created with the research they've done in Uganda may protect against all the strains of Ebola.
Dye said he's hoping the vaccines or treatments that come from their research will be tested in Uganda.
A manufacturing plant in Frederick, which gets its marching orders through the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, plans to make more doses of an experimental Ebola vaccine early next year, according to David A. Lindsay, a director at the plant.
© 2016 The Frederick News-Post (Frederick, Md.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
The decorated Marine pilot whose heroics helped stop the 1973 New Orleans sniper attack has died at 84
The decorated U.S. Marine Corps pilot who risked his life and military career to help New Orleans police halt the Howard Johnson's hotel sniper attack that shattered the quiet of a Sunday morning and claimed seven lives in 1973 died Feb. 13 following a lengthy battle with cancer, according to his family.
Retired Lt. Gen. Charles "Chuck" Pitman Sr., whose heroics against Mark Essex that day earned him the eternal gratitude of city leaders and first responders, was 84.
The U.S. government failed to effectively account for nearly $715.8 million in weapons and equipment allocated to Syrian partners as part of the multinational counter-ISIS fight, according to a new report from the Defense Department inspector general.
On Feb. 19, 1945, more than 70,000 U.S. Marines conducted an amphibious assault to take the Island of Iwo Jima from fortified Japanese forces. Over the next 36 days nearly 7,000 Marines would be killed during the battle, which is regarded as one of the bloodiest of World War II, as they faced hidden enemy artillery, machine guns, vast bunker systems and underground tunnels. Of the 82 Marines who earned the Medal of Honor during all of World War II, 22 medals were earned for actions on Iwo Jima.
Now, 75 years later, 28 Marines and Sailors who fought on Iwo Jima gathered to remember the battle at the 75th and final commemoration sunset ceremony Feb. 15, 2020, at the Pacific Views Event Center on Camp Pendleton, California.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), has long been seen as an apologist for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, whom she met during a secret trip to Damascus in January 2017.
Most recently, a video was posted on Twitter shows Gabbard evading a question about whether Assad is a war criminal.
Since Gabbard is the only actively serving member of the military who is running for president — she is a major in the Hawaii Army National Guard — Task & Purpose sought to clarify whether she believes Assad has used chlorine gas and chemical weapons to kill his own people.
The Army is almost doubling its purchase of new bolt-action Precision Sniper Rifles as its primary anti-personnel sniper system of choice, according to budget documents.