GALVESTON, Texas — Researchers at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have been awarded two grants to developing drugs against both Ebola and Marburg viruses, the hospital announced Thursday.
Virologist Alex Bukreyev, professor of pathology at UTMB, has been awarded two National Institutes of Health grants and a U.S. Department of Defense grant totaling more than $6 million. The studies involve collaborations with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
According to UTMB, Ebola and Marburg cause the most severe hemorrhagic fever known, with a mortality rate of up to 90 percent. There are currently no approved vaccines or treatments.
Another grant from the NIH will fund a project to investigate the mechanisms leading to immune system failure following filovirus infection. Bukreyev and UTMB professor Thomas Geisbert each will lead components of the project.
The USA will launch an early-stage trial in September of an experimental vaccine against Ebola, the deadly viral disease that has killed 729 people in the largest outbreak in history. It has infected more than 1,300 people in West Africa, including a number of health workers, according to the World Health Organization.