After successfully treating four Ebola patients last year, Emory University in Atlanta is now leading a government-funded project that will use blood from survivors of the deadly virus to test a novel way of treating infectious disease.Traditional vaccines boost the immune system’s response to infections. The new project will inject people with genetic material, such as DNA or RNA, in hopes of spurring a person’s own cells to make specific antibodies capable of fighting Ebola or other pathogens.
"The person's body is the factory," said Dr. James Crowe of Vanderbilt University, one of the collaborators on the project. "It's a cool idea."
Experts say the method, if proven to be safe and effective, would be faster and cheaper than conventional drug production and could potentially be used to treat illnesses such as seasonal flu or malaria.