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Gamma globulin effective in treating eye infections caused by adenoviruses
Date:8/28/2007

PITTSBURGH, Aug. 28 Gamma globulin, a type of antibody isolated from blood samples that used to be routinely given to health care workers and international travelers to protect them from infectious diseases, is a highly effective treatment for pinkeye with little apparent toxicity, according to a study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. The results of the study, being published in the September 1 issue of the journal Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science and available online now, have significant implications for the treatment and prevention of eye diseases caused by adenovirus infections, such as conjunctivitis.

Conjunctivitis, commonly known as pinkeye, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the clear membrane that covers the white part of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelids. Although typically a mild, self-limiting disease in children and adults, newborns are particularly susceptible to pinkeye and can be more prone to serious health complications, even blindness, if it goes untreated. The most common cause of conjunctivitis is adenovirus infection. Unfortunately, current treatments for conjunctivitis are not specifically targeted to the virus, and, presently, there is no FDA-approved therapy for the treatment of adenoviral-mediated eye infections.

In the study, led by Andrea Gambotto, M.D., assistant professor of surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, the researchers investigated the antiviral activity of gamma globulin (Ig) on human wild-type adenovirus as well as adenovirus subtypes isolated from patients diagnosed with viral eye infections. Specifically, they investigated the ability of Ig to neutralize these various adenovirus strains in both cell cultures infected with adenovirus and in rabbits with conjunctivitis.

In the cell culture (in vitro) studies, less than 10 milligrams per milliliter (mg/ml) of Ig significantly neutralized all of the wild-type str
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Contact: Jim Swyers
SwyersJP@upmc.edu
412-647-3555
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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