Marburg

Via Aetiology, I found out that the Marburg virus was discovered in a Dutch woman: According to Dutch reports, Friday (or Thursday night) she didn’t survive (Dutch language alert, see also WHO report about the individual case). That same article at nu.nl reports that around 100 people that were in close contact with her have been put under medical observation, which I presume means that they probably regularly have to contact their family doctor about their physical condition.

The Marburg virus hit Europe before in 1967 when 30 or some people became infected with the virus: the primary infections were lab workers who did experiments on monkeys, which were imported from Africa. Technically, the virus is part of the filovirusses group, which also includes the Ebola virus.

Talking about Ebola: Just this week a report came in that researchers may have found the virus’ ‘Achilles heel’:

“The structure of the glycoprotein shows us the very few sites on its surface that are not cloaked by carbohydrate,” Ollmann Saphire explains. “These [sites] are the chink in the armor, or the Achilles’ heel, that we can target antibodies against.

“We now have a much better handle on how in the world this virus gets into cells,” Ollmann Saphire says. “We also have new maps we can use to develop strategies to fight against it.”

The article reads like a report from a war-zone, but then, this kind of research is like a nuclear arms race.