Welcome!

News Feed Item

University of Maryland School of Medicine Scientist is at Forefront of Developing Vaccine for Ebola Virus

Alan Schmaljohn, Ph.D. has studied Ebola virus for decades through U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Disease

BALTIMORE, Aug. 12, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the number of lives taken by the Ebola virus in West Africa has surpassed 1,000, and the U.S. prepares as rapidly as it can, it is clear that little is known in the medical community about the virus. In fact, some experts point out that the number of medical professionals who can properly diagnose and recommend the next steps for treatment is alarmingly small.

Some scientists, however, like Alan Schmaljohn, Ph.D., Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM), have spent decades studying the Ebola virus and similar viruses identifying key characteristics that have aided in the development of vaccines, antivirals and treatment methods.                                                                                         

As a leader of research and Chief in the Viral pathogenesis and Immunology Branch with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), Dr. Schmaljohn was able to help identify three of the key antibodies that are used currently in combination with each other to treat patients infected with Ebola.

Dr. Schmaljohn is now one of the scientific leaders in the UM SOM partnership with Department of Defense contract recipient Paragon Bioservices in the manufacture of an Ebola virus vaccine for initial safety testing in humans.

"Several vaccine candidates for Ebolavirus are proceeding through initial manufacture toward safety testing in human volunteers," Dr. Schmaljohn said.  "Different vaccine candidates are based upon different 'platforms' in which selected viral proteins may be made 'in the test tube' and purified for injection, or may be added genetically as passengers of a different variety of virus that is weakened. Only human trials will provide the final answers as to which vaccines are best on the basis of many criteria, foremost being safety and efficacy," he said.

Dr. Schmaljohn was originally one of the leaders in determining what kinds of immune responses are required for protection against viruses like Ebola and he was part of the team that first identified antibodies capable of protecting certain animals from Ebola virus.  "Subsequently," he said, "three of these antibodies have been developed as a candidate mixture for human therapy against Ebolavirus, which seems to be true with an American who was infected with Ebolavirus during the current outbreak."  However, he cautions that many scientific questions remain unanswered. 

E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., Vice President of Medical Affairs at the University of Maryland and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean of the UM SOM, said, "We are grateful to have scientists at the UM SOM like Dr. Schmaljohn who have studied viruses like Ebola for decades.  We can now build on that knowledge and understanding to focus on bridging the science to the development of new vaccines.  The University of Maryland School of Medicine is well-positioned to play an integral role in addressing this serious public health issue."

The UM SOM has been an international leader in both vaccine development and study of infectious disease for many years with longstanding support from NIH and other federal agencies.

Scientists in the School's Department of Microbiology and Immunology, under the leadership of James B. Kaper, Ph.D, have opened new approaches to the basic and applied aspects of infectious diseases and host defenses.  They are applying these approaches to basic aspects of receptor signaling, regulation of gene expression in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells and interactions between these cells, genetic manipulation of cellular functions, microbial genomics and evolution, and development of new vaccination strategies. The techniques of functional genomics, gene delivery, stem cells and transgenic/gene disruption animal models are being developed to address specific questions.

The pioneering work of the UM SOM's Center for Vaccine Development, under Myron Levine, M.D., D.T.P.H., founded the discipline now known as "vaccinology," which incorporates measurement of the burden of a disease to direct vaccine research; construction of vaccine candidates; clinical trials to demonstrate the safety of a vaccine and its ability to stimulate immune responses and to protect against disease; and documentation of the public health impact that follows introduction of the vaccine into widespread use.  The earliest NIH-supported formal training programs in the field of vaccinology were established by Dr. Levine at the SOM.  It was, and still is, funded with a T32 Grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Levine has also oriented the discipline at Maryland to address the development and introduction of vaccines to prevent diseases afflicting impoverished populations in the developing world.

The UM SOM is also home to the Institute of Human Virology (IHV) under the leadership of Robert C. Gallo, M.D.  The IHV is the first center in the U.S. to combine the disciplines of basic science, epidemiology and clinical research in a concerted effort to speed the discovery of diagnostics and therapeutics for a wide variety of chronic and deadly viral and immune disorders, most notably HIV.  Dr. Gallo, who is widely known for his pioneering research in the field of human retroviruses with his discoveries of, Il-2, HTLV-1 and HTLV-2, his co-discovery of HIV as the cause of AIDS, and his development of the HIV blood test, is The Homer & Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Director of the Institute of Human Virology in the School of Medicine, and Co-Founder and Scientific Director of the Global Virus Network (GVN).

CONTACT: Christopher Hardwick[email protected]

SOURCE University of Maryland School of Medicine

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
"I think DevOps is now a rambunctious teenager – it’s starting to get a mind of its own, wanting to get its own things but it still needs some adult supervision," explained Thomas Hooker, VP of marketing at CollabNet, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We are still a relatively small software house and we are focusing on certain industries like FinTech, med tech, energy and utilities. We help our customers with their digital transformation," noted Piotr Stawinski, Founder and CEO of EARP Integration, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We've been engaging with a lot of customers including Panasonic, we've been involved with Cisco and now we're working with the U.S. government - the Department of Homeland Security," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
In the enterprise today, connected IoT devices are everywhere – both inside and outside corporate environments. The need to identify, manage, control and secure a quickly growing web of connections and outside devices is making the already challenging task of security even more important, and onerous. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Rich Boyer, CISO and Chief Architect for Security at NTT i3, discussed new ways of thinking and the approaches needed to address the emerging challenges of security i...
"We're here to tell the world about our cloud-scale infrastructure that we have at Juniper combined with the world-class security that we put into the cloud," explained Lisa Guess, VP of Systems Engineering at Juniper Networks, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"I will be talking about ChatOps and ChatOps as a way to solve some problems in the DevOps space," explained Himanshu Chhetri, CTO of Addteq, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Mike Johnston, an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io, discussed how to use Kubernetes to set up a SaaS infrastructure for your business. Mike Johnston is an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io with over 12 years of experience designing, deploying, and maintaining server and workstation infrastructure at all scales. He has experience with brick and mortar data centers as well as cloud providers like Digital Ocean, Amazon Web Services, and Rackspace. H...
"We are an IT services solution provider and we sell software to support those solutions. Our focus and key areas are around security, enterprise monitoring, and continuous delivery optimization," noted John Balsavage, President of A&I Solutions, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
What sort of WebRTC based applications can we expect to see over the next year and beyond? One way to predict development trends is to see what sorts of applications startups are building. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Arin Sime, founder of WebRTC.ventures, discussed the current and likely future trends in WebRTC application development based on real requests for custom applications from real customers, as well as other public sources of information.
Your homes and cars can be automated and self-serviced. Why can't your storage? From simply asking questions to analyze and troubleshoot your infrastructure, to provisioning storage with snapshots, recovery and replication, your wildest sci-fi dream has come true. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, provided a ChatOps demo where you can talk to your storage and manage it from anywhere, through Slack and similar services with...
The financial services market is one of the most data-driven industries in the world, yet it’s bogged down by legacy CPU technologies that simply can’t keep up with the task of querying and visualizing billions of records. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Karthik Lalithraj, a Principal Solutions Architect at Kinetica, discussed how the advent of advanced in-database analytics on the GPU makes it possible to run sophisticated data science workloads on the same database that is housing the rich...
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to w...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Massive Networks mission is simple. To help your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions. Improve your customer's experience with outstanding connections to your cloud.
"We want to show that our solution is far less expensive with a much better total cost of ownership so we announced several key features. One is called geo-distributed erasure coding, another is support for KVM and we introduced a new capability called Multi-Part," explained Tim Desai, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Hitachi Data Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
FinTechs use the cloud to operate at the speed and scale of digital financial activity, but are often hindered by the complexity of managing security and compliance in the cloud. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Sesh Murthy, co-founder and CTO of Cloud Raxak, showed how proactive and automated cloud security enables FinTechs to leverage the cloud to achieve their business goals. Through business-driven cloud security, FinTechs can speed time-to-market, diminish risk and costs, maintain continu...