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Scientists report major advance in human antibody therapy against deadly Hendra virus
Date:10/19/2011

Bethesda, MDA team of Federal and university scientists reports a breakthrough in the development of an effective therapy against a deadly virus, Hendra virus. The results of their study, "A Neutralizing Human Monoclonal Antibody Protects African Green Monkeys from Hendra Virus Challenge," will appear in Science Translational Medicine online. The full study will be available following the release of the embargo at 2 p.m. Oct. 19, 2011.

The collaborative research team members are from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU), the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) and Galveston National Laboratory (GNL), the National Institutes of Health (NIH's) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML), the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories Institute (NEIDL) at Boston University School of Medicine, and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), NIH. The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc. manages the patent and played a central role in the transfer of the antibody and cell line to Queensland Health in Australia in 2010.

Hendra virus and the closely related Nipah virus are found in Pteropid fruit bats (flying foxes) and are emerging viruses capable of causing severe illness and death in a variety of domestic animals and humans.

In experiments carried out in African green monkeys at the RML in Hamilton, Montana, where there is a high-level safety and security facility for working with live Hendra virus, the team of researchers, under the direction of Heinz Feldmann, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the RML, Laboratory of Virology, demonstrated that giving an anti-virus human monoclonal antibody therapy after exposure to Hendra virus protected the animals from disease.

"These findings are really quite promising and appear to offer a real potential treatment for Hendra virus infection in people," said Christopher C.
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Contact: JoAnn Sperber
jsperber@hjf.org
240-694-2163
Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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