"This is an important finding in the race to develop effective measures against a potential bioterror attack involving the deadly smallpox virus," says NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D.
"It is imperative that we have effective treatments available that everyone could use in the event of a bioterror attack," says NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. "This study shows that there are potential alternatives to existing treatments and perhaps to existing vaccines that we can use to enhance our arsenal of medical countermeasures."
Using a library of antibodies derived from the bone marrow of two vaccinia-immunized chimpanzees, the study researchers identified a pair of potent antibodies that target and neutralize the B5 protein, one of five key proteins responsible for cell-to-cell spread of infectious vaccinia virus. The researchers then combined the two chimp-derived antibodies with a human antibody to create two hybrid test antibodies, 8AH7AL and 8AH8AL. In test tube experiments, both antibody types prevented the spread of vaccinia virus. Further, the 8AH8AL antibody neutralized one strain of the smallpox-causing variola virus. The test involving the smallpox virus was performed at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
The researchers then tested the effectiveness of the hybrid antibodies in mice. The control group--mice that were given the vaccinia virus but did not receive the antibodies--experienced continuous weight loss for five days after virus injection, which the researchers correlated with viral r
Source:NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases