Monday, January 19, 2015



Ebola virus disease is also called Ebola hemorrhagic fever with case fatality rate upto 90%; it is a disease of humans and other primates caused by Ebola viruses.


Ebola Hemorrhagic fever, Ebola virus infection, Viral Hemorrhagic fever, Ebola.


First outbreak of EVD was reported in 1976 in Nzara, Sudan, infected 284 of people and killed 151. After the outbreak in Nzara and Yambuku, it occurred in village near Ebola River, from which disease takes its name. Now a days it takes an importance due to its largest outbreak in West Africa, infected 17,590 of people and killed 6,556.


After the exposure to the virus the incubation period ranges from 2 to 21 days.
• Early symptoms are non specific, begins with sudden influenza, tiredness, fever (38.3ᵒ), weakness, decreased appetite, muscle pain, joint pain, headache, sore throat.

• After 5 days it is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain.

• Next, shortness of breath, chest pain may also occur, along with swelling, headaches and confusions. Flat  red areas covered with small bumps are also developed on skin in half of the cases. 

•Internal and external bleeding may occur due to decreased blood clotting ability. External bleeding is characterized by vomiting of blood, coughing up of blood, blood in stool. Internal bleeding is characterized by bleeding into whites of eyes and bleeding into skin (hematomas).

• Death occurs due to low blood pressure from fluid loss.

• Those who survive have ongoing muscle and joint pain, liver inflammation, decreased hearing. They also develop antibodies against Ebola that last at least 10 years. If someone survives Ebola, they can no longer transmit the disease.


 EBOV carries negative sense RNA genome in virions that are cylindrical/tabular, and contain viral envelope, matrix and nucleocapsid components.
• The cylinders of virions are 80nm in diameter, 800nm in length and have viral encoding glycoprotein projecting as 7-10 nm long spikes from its lipid bilayer surface. 

•The outer viral envelop is derived by budding from domains of host cell membrane into which the GP spikes have been inserted during their biosynthesis.

• Viral proteins VP40 and VP24 present in matrix space between the envelop and nucleocapsid.

• Nucleocapsid is present at the centre which is composed of series of viral proteins attached to negative sense RNA.


Virus first attacks and invades dendrites, cells that alert the body to infection. Due to this activity virus can deceive the immune system and starts to replicate itself. Then infected cells start to rupture and releasing more virus particles into body along with the release of inundate of cytokines. Cytokines cause fever, inflammation and internal bleeding due to damage to blood vessels. Certain white blood cells called neutrophils, which basically fight against an infection, in this case it act as carrier of Ebola virus and spread Ebola throughout the body. After the virus has spread throughout the body, death is attributed to severe blood loss and organ failure.


Fruit bats of Pteropodidae family are considered as natural host of Ebola virus. It is introduced into the human population through close contact with secretions, blood, organs, or other bodily fluid of infected animals such as chimpanzee, gorillas, fruit bats, and monkeys.
 Then it spreads through human to human transmissions via direct contact with blood or body fluids such as saliva, sweat, mucous, vomit, feces, tears, breast milk, urine and semen, of a person who has developed the symptoms of disease. An entry point for virus includes nose, mouth, eyes, open wounds, and abrasions. Ebola may be spread through large droplets, in case when person is extremely sick. Contact with surfaces and objects contaminated by virus like needles, syringes may also transmit the infection. Burial ceremonies also play an important role in the transmission of Ebola. It may be transmitted while treating the patient without practicing any precautionary measures.

Transmission of Ebola through airborne route, water, food other than bush meat has not been reported. No spread by mosquito and other insects has been reported. The lack of airborne transmission is believed to be due to low level of virus in lungs and other parts of respiratory organs of primates, insufficient to cause new infections. In the case of pigs, the transmission of Ebola virus through airborne route has been reported just because of high concentration of Ebola virus in their lungs, not in their blood stream.


It can be difficult to distinguish EVD from other infectious diseases like malaria, typhoid fever, meningitis. Confirmations that symptoms are caused by Ebola virus are made by using these investigators.
• Antibody-capture enzyme-linked-immunosorbent assay (ELISA)

• Antigen capture detection tests

• Serum neutralization test

• Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay

• Electron microscopy

• Virus isolation by cell culture

First of all travelling, work history and exposure to wildlife of a suspected person must be taken into consideration before any medical examination.

Initial laboratory testing includes platelets count, white blood cells count, checking the level of liver enzymes. In case of EVD a patient experiences low platelets count, initially decreased white blood cells count, followed by increased white blood cells count, elevated levels of liver enzymes (alanine aminotransferase, aspartate amino transferase ) and abnormalities in blood clotting often consistent with dissiminated intravascular coagulation, such as prolonged prothombin time, partial thrmboplastin time and bleeding time.

Then isolating the virus by cell culture, detecting its RNA by PCR, its proteins by ELISA, and also its antibodies for the detection of Ebola virus. In case of antibodies detection, IgM antibodies can be detected two days after symptom onset and IgG antibodies can be detected 6 to 18 days after symptom onset. Ebola virus can also be detected by using electron microscope due to its filamentous shapes in cell culture.


 Although Ebola virus is a dangerous virus but can be easily avoided by following ways.
• Wear protective clothing like face masks, gowns, goggles, gloves, close toed shoes while handling the patient.

• Wash hands regularly with soap and clean water.

• Infected person should be in barrier-isolation from other people.

• In case of exposure wash with large amount of water, eyewash or chlorine water.

• Avoid physical contact with person showing symptoms and signs.

• Keep away from bats, monkeys, baboons, and dead animals.

• Avoid eating bush meat and animals products should be thoroughly cooked before consumption.

• Only travel to areas where there is an Ebola outbreak in case of urgent need.

• Inform health authorities immediately in case of contact with Ebola case.

• Disinfect clothing and bedding of suspected Ebola patient with bleach.

• Avoid funeral or burial rituals that require handling of someone who has died from Ebola.

• If someone has died from suspected Ebola, don’t wash their bodies, limit unnecessary handling.


There is yet no proven treatment available for EVD. However survival is improved by supportive care with rehydration and symptomatic treatment. These measures include management and treatment of pain, nausea, fever, anxiety and other infections, blood pressure management, and rehydration via oral or intravenous route. The WHO has approved the use of whole blood products such as platelets, packed red blood cells, fresh frozen plasma to treat the people.  The WHO recommends avoiding the aspirin and ibuprofen for pain due to bleeding risk. Interferon therapies and Ribavirin are known to be ineffective against EVD.
No licensed vaccines are available yet for the treatment of EVD.


The UNC scientist partnered with researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle and National Institute of Health’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, MT, to produce new line of mice or new mouse model to accelerate research on potential vaccine and treatment for Ebola. The team worked with eight mouse variants and then they found that some strains do not develop Ebola due to the presence of a gene responsible for encoding the protein TEK and antibodies. Now they are trying to develop antibody therapy for SUDAN strain of Ebola virus by grafting Ebola specific segment of mouse antibody onto human antibody. Still more research is needed.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Merck & Co., Inc

Merck & Co., Inc. outside the United States and Canada, is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. The Merck headquarters is located in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, an unincorporated area in Readington Township.
The company was established in 1891 as the United States subsidiary of the German company now known as Merck KGaA. In common with many other German assets in the United States, Merck & Co. was confiscated in 1917 during World War I and then set up as an independent company. Currently, it is one of the seven largest pharmaceutical companies in the world both by market capitalization and revenue.
Merck & Co. or MSD describes itself as a "a global research-driven pharmaceutical company. Merck discovers, develops, manufactures and markets a broad range of innovative products to improve human and animal health, directly and through its joint ventures." The Merck Company Foundation has distributed over $480 million to educational and non-profit organizations since it was founded in 1957. Merck publishes
The Merck Manuals, a series of medical reference books. These include the Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, the world's best-selling medical textbook, and the Merck Index, a collection of information about chemical compounds.
Role of Merck in different fields
Research and Development
Our 2,500 professionals around the world in Research and Development apply their combined knowledge, creativity and passion every day to push forward into new frontiers of medical science.
In Research, we employ state-of-the-art technology in searching for breakthrough therapeutic solutions, including exciting new possibilities opened up by human genomics. Scientific rigor, laboratory experience and even human intuition are critical to selecting the best drug candidates.
Our Clinical Development organization transforms biologically active compounds and new chemical entities into safe, effective medicines of the highest quality. Managing dozens of simultaneous trials with thousands of patients around the world is a monumental task that demands strategic planning as well as attention to the smallest details.
Above all, it requires an absolute dedication to safeguarding the health of patients.

At every link in the chain from initial discovery to rigorous pre-clinical testing and clinical development, we examine the value of integrating the expertise of external partners to move our projects forward. Throughout our R&D organization, there is a real sense of urgency to discover and develop better medical treatments that will transform the lives of patients afflicted by cancer, multiple sclerosis, infertility or other serious diseases.
Merck scientists discover and develop medicines that have the potential to help save or improve countless lives around the world. An important part of our strategy for leadership in science and technology is finding the best, most varied talent. Then, we provide a work environment that helps them achieve and encourages them to stay. We recruit researchers who are leaders in their scientific and technical disciplines – people with the enthusiasm and drive to help provide medicines that save lives and improve the quality of life for our patients.
Behind each of our medicines and vaccines is a team of researchers who are leaders in their fields. People whose unwavering enthusiasm for finding new ways to prevent and treat disease is matched only by their unrelenting commitment to scientific excellence and patient safety.
MRL comprises eight functional areas. Each area provides expert, efficient support of our drug candidates – ushering them from drug discovery and preclinical studies to late stage clinical development.
  • Discovery and Preclinical Sciences
  • Global Clinical Development and Regulatory Affairs
  • Global Scientific Strategy
  • Project and Pipeline Management
  • Biologics Research
  • Vaccine Research
  • Emerging Markets R&D
  • Worldwide Licensing and Knowledge Management
We are entering an exciting period with a strong product pipeline that targets a broad range of diseases. And we're looking ahead to the next generation of healthcare by using new techniques and technologies.
Therapeutic Areas
We focus our research on several key therapeutic areas, including:
  • Cardiovascular
  • Diabetes and Obesity
  • Bone, Respiratory, Immunology, and Dermatology
  • Infectious Disease
  • Oncology
  • Neurosciences and Ophthalmology
  • Women's Health and Endocrine
In the Pipeline
From preclinical development to Phase III clinical trials, our passion for advancing health through science is evident in the breadth and depth of our pipeline.

Merck's Fight Against HIV/AIDS
We've now entered the fourth decade of the AIDS epidemic, and according to The Joint United Nations Commission on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the world has turned the corner. Since the epidemic peaked in 1999, the number of new infections has fallen by 19 percent. And, of the estimated 15 million people living with HIV in low- and middle income countries, 6.6 million have access to treatment.
Despite the positive trend overall, there is more work to be done. For example, while the rate of new HIV infections has declined globally, in some countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia there are signs that new HIV infections are on the rise.
For nearly 25 years, Merck has sought to make a difference in the fight against HIV/AIDS through research, access programs and global partnerships. We are committed to the long-term battle against this disease.
Our commitment means that we are applying our scientific, operational and technological expertise to deliver healthcare solutions to help the millions of people worldwide who are living with HIV/AIDS.
As part of Merck's commitment to Corporate Responsibility, we support a variety of programs around the world.
Products on the market
·         Antivenin – for the treatment of black widow spider (Latrodectus mactans) bites
·         Crixivan (indinavir) – a protease inhibitor HIV medication.
·         Emflex (acemetacin) – a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug.
·         Fosamax (alendronate) – osteoporosis medication.
·         Gardasil (HPV vaccine) – a vaccine against human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted disease.
·         Hyzaar (losartan/hydrochlorothiazide) – used to treat hypertension, to reduce the risk of strokes and to treat diabetic nephropathy.
·         Isentress (raltegravir) – HIV integrase inhibitor.
·         Januvia (sitagliptin) – a dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitor for the treatment of diabetes
·         Trusopt (dorzolamide) – reduces intraocular pressure in people with glaucoma or ocular hypertension.
·         Vaqta (hepatitis A vaccine) – a vaccine that protects against hepatitis A.
·         Varivax (Varicella vaccine) – a vaccine that protects against chickenpox.
·         Zetia (ezetimibe) – cholesterol absorption inhibitor which lowers LDL co marketed by Schering-Plough
·         Zocor (simvastatin) – a cholesterol-lowering statin.
·         Zostavax – a vaccine for prevention of shingles in adults older than 50 years of age.
Products under development

Information Technology

Our Information Technology (IT) professionals are innovative thinkers with strong leadership skills. They provide technical solutions that enhance the way we do business. These solutions allow us to work faster – and smarter – around the world.
Whether engaged in network engineering, business analysis, data modeling or applications architecture, our IT people provide solutions to maximize the company’s overall performance.
Information Technology opportunities exist in many areas at Merck.
  • We look for a balance of strong technical competency and business acumen. For many of our positions, we look for Sigma certifications, project management certifications and/or technical certifications.
  • We recruit individuals with experience in the following: Account Management, Business Architecture, Business Analysis, Program Management, Business Management, Solution Partnering, Solution Management, Delivery Support/Service, Technical Analysis, Program Development and Program Engineering.


Merck’s communications professionals are the voice of the company. They aim to differentiate Merck based on the strengths of our products, pipeline, performance and people. They do this by communicating with and to a diverse group: the media, the financial community, customers, stockholders,employees, policymakers and governments.
Merck offers a variety of positions in the communications field.
We recruit individuals with backgrounds in Communications, Liberal Arts, Business and Journalism.

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