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Possible breakthrough in Ebola treatment discovered at University of Utah

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Posted at 10:25 AM, Oct 09, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-09 12:46:48-04

SALT LAKE CITY - Just a day after the first Ebola patient in the US died, there could be a big development in the treatment of the virus.

The research is happening right here in Utah.

Scientists at the University of Utah  said they believe they have found a way to stop the virus from spreading.

They said they have found a "drug target" that is the same on all five varieties of the Ebola virus.

If they can find out how to stop that target, they said they believe they will know how to stop all forms of Ebola from entering human cells.

"It [the virus] pierces the cell and then, in order to get the virus inside, this protein folds back and it brings the cell really close to the virus or the virus close to the cell," Biochemistry research assistant professor Debbie Eckert said. "That's what allows the virus to get in. So we're studying a region on this protein where we can essentially block that folding back of the protein getting close to the cell."

So far, all other experimental ways being used to fight Ebola are only focusing on one species of the virus.

The University of Utah holds the patent on this new research but researchers said they will share the information they have learned with any other scientists free of charge to help combat this outbreak.

MORE: Complete details of the study from the University of Utah