Can an infection with a parasitic disease increase the risk of developing a deadly virus? That’s the question under study at Texas Biomed, where Staff Scientist Olena Shtanko, Ph.D. is conducting work as part of a study funded by the National Institutes of Health.
The hypothesis under study is that people who have acute malarial infection may experience some protective effects against Ebola infection. On the flip side, patients who have been infected with malaria but are no longer in the acute phase of the disease may be more susceptible to Ebola infection.
Knowing whether this is true could lead to more targeted therapies and also open the door to new discoveries about the interplay of other infectious diseases.
Ebola and malaria are both endemic in Africa.