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USU scientists report major advance in human antibody therapy against deadly Nipah virus
Date:10/30/2009

authors are Christopher C. Broder, Ph.D., professor of microbiology at USU, and Katharine Bossart, Ph.D., a USU alumna, now an assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology, Boston University School of Medicine and an investigator at the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories Institute in Boston. The pair led a team of researchers to test the effectiveness of the new antibody therapy in animals. The experiments were supported in part by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH. The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc. provides research support and management capabilities to the research team.

"We now have good evidence that this antibody could save human lives and the insights offered about how it works also could potentially provide a starting point to developing tools for targeting other diseases," said study co-author Dimiter S. Dimitrov, Ph.D., senior biomedical research scientist at the National Cancer Institute.

Nipah and Hendra viruses, members of the henipavirus family, are highly infectious agents that emerged from flying foxes in the 1990s to cause serious disease outbreaks in humans and livestock in Australia, Bangladesh, India, Malaysia and Singapore. Recent outbreaks have resulted in acute respiratory distress syndrome and encephalitis, person-to-person transmission, and up to 75 percent case fatality rates among humans. Additionally, these properties could allow the viruses to be used as bioterror weapons.

Initial experiments by the researchers using ferrets found that m102.4 was well tolerated, exhibited no adverse effects and retained high neutralizing activity. The findings suggested that m102.4 could potentially be used as a preventive or post-exposure agent, a diagnostic probe or a research reagent.

Hendra virus re-emerged again in August 2009, resulting in the death of several horses and one human. During the outbreak, in a c
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Contact: JoAnn Sperber
jsperber@hjf.org
301-294-1234
Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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