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
Detecting internal user threats in the Big Data eco-system is challenging and cumbersome. Many organizations monitor internal usage of the Big Data eco-system using a set of alerts. This is not a scalable process given the increase in the number of alerts with the accelerating growth in data volume and user base. Organizations are increasingly leveraging machine learning to monitor only those data elements that are sensitive and critical, autonomously establish monitoring policies, and to detect...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
"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.
Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, is an accomplished digital business executive with extensive global expertise as a strategist, technologist, innovator, marketer, and communicator. For over 30 years across five continents, he has built success with Fortune 500 corporations, vendors, governments, and as a leading research analyst and consultant.
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Robert Cohen, an economist and senior fellow at the Economic Strategy Institute, presented the findings of a series of six detailed case studies of how large corporations are implementing IoT. The session explored how IoT has improved their economic performance, had major impacts on business models and resulted in impressive ROIs. The companies covered span manufacturing and services firms. He also explored servicification, how manufacturing firms shift from se...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settl...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
For organizations that have amassed large sums of software complexity, taking a microservices approach is the first step toward DevOps and continuous improvement / development. Integrating system-level analysis with microservices makes it easier to change and add functionality to applications at any time without the increase of risk. Before you start big transformation projects or a cloud migration, make sure these changes won’t take down your entire organization.
When you focus on a journey from up-close, you look at your own technical and cultural history and how you changed it for the benefit of the customer. This was our starting point: too many integration issues, 13 SWP days and very long cycles. It was evident that in this fast-paced industry we could no longer afford this reality. We needed something that would take us beyond reducing the development lifecycles, CI and Agile methodologies. We made a fundamental difference, even changed our culture...
Digital transformation has increased the pace of business creating a productivity divide between the technology haves and have nots. Managing financial information on spreadsheets and piecing together insight from numerous disconnected systems is no longer an option. Rapid market changes and aggressive competition are motivating business leaders to reevaluate legacy technology investments in search of modern technologies to achieve greater agility, reduced costs and organizational efficiencies. ...
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Kevin Jackson joined the faculty of CloudEXPO's "10-Year Anniversary Event" which will take place on November 11-13, 2018 in New York City. Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized cloud computing expert and Founder/Author of the award winning "Cloud Musings" blog. Mr. Jackson has also been recognized as a "Top 100 Cybersecurity Influencer and Brand" by Onalytica (2015), a Huffington Post "Top 100 Cloud Computing Experts on Twitter" (2013) and a "Top 50 C...
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...