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Southern Miss Alum Aids in Fight Against Ebola

Hattiesburg– Daniel Murin grew up in Oak Grove and went to college at Southern Miss. Now he’s a scientist working with a team of researchers to fight the Ebola virus. 

He was just an 8th grade kid with a science fair presentation at USM when biochemistry professor Dr. Sabine Heinhorst noticed Daniel Murin had a knack for the subject.

“He’s very bright and loves science,” Heinhorst tells WDAM, “he is driven to succeed.” That drive pushed Daniel Murin through undergrad time at the lab. Murin also studied in England at University of Exeter before moving on to Scripps Research Institute in San Diego.

Murin is on the research team that is developing ZMapp, the experimental treatment that was given to the two Americans treated for Ebola at Emory College. Right now there isn’t a vaccine or treatment for the disease. The latest outbreak in West Africa has spread to over 2,000 people; half of those have died. The treatment that the research team has been working on is still in the development stages.

“Hopefully giving them the cocktail (the treatment) gave them a better chance at survival, but that’s not clear at this point,” said Murin. He says those who contracted this strain have about a 45% chance of living, but it would take blood samples and more observation to determine if it was the drug or just the immune systems and hospital care that saved them. The treatment did shed some hope when tested on animal models. 

Murin credits Southern Miss for where he is today. “Scripps is one of top 5 research institutions in the country, and being accepted into the school and having this opportunity to conduct such important, life-saving research is a direct reflection of my work and education at USM,” he said.

 

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