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Blood Test May Predict Survival for Patients With Ebola

Findings might lead to more effective patient care, researchers suggest

ebola virus

MONDAY, Jan. 23, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- A blood test may help determine a patient's chance of surviving Ebola infection, according to a study published online Jan. 19 in Genome Biology.

Scientists looked at blood samples from infected and surviving patients during the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The researchers identified a small number of genes whose expression accurately predicts survival of patients infected with the virus.

The blood samples also revealed that an immediate strong immune system response to Ebola doesn't affect whether patients live or die. In addition, the findings showed that the virus causes significant liver damage.

"Transcriptomic analysis of the host response to pathogen infection using blood samples taken during an outbreak situation can provide multiple levels of information on both disease state and mechanisms of pathogenesis. Host biomarkers were identified that provide high predictive value under conditions where other predictors, such as viral load, are poor prognostic indicators," the authors write. "The data suggested that rapid analysis of the host response to infection in an outbreak situation can provide valuable information to guide an understanding of disease outcome and mechanisms of disease."

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