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Ebola antibody treatment, produced in plants, protects monkeys from lethal disease
Date:10/25/2012

A new Ebola virus study resulting from a widespread scientific collaboration has shown promising preliminary results, preventing disease in infected nonhuman primates using monoclonal antibodies.

In this week's online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the research team describes a proof-of-concept for using a "cocktail" of monoclonal antibodies, or mAbs, to prevent lethal disease in rhesus macaques. When administered one hour after infection, all animals survived. Two-thirds of the animals were protected even when the treatment, known as MB-003, was administered 48 hours after infection.

Ebola virus, which causes hemorrhagic fever with human case fatality rates as high as 90 percent, has been responsible for numerous deaths in central Africa over the past several months. In addition to being a global health concern, the virus also is considered a potential biological threat agent. Currently there are no available vaccines or treatments approved for use in humans.

The work is the culmination of more than a decade of effort between government and industry partners. According to lead investigator Gene Olinger, Ph.D., a virologist at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), this consortium of investigators has taken very distinct technologies and combined them to develop a cutting-edge medical countermeasure against a lethal viral disease.

"It is rare that an antiviral compound prevents Ebola virus infection with limited to no morbidity in treated animals at any point of treatment following infection by this lethal virus," said Olinger. "Until recently, attempts to utilize antibodies to provide protection against Ebola virus have been met with failure. The level of protection against disease that we saw with MB-003 was impressive."

In addition, the production method used in this study offers the potential to make an economical and e
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Contact: Caree Vander Linden
caree.vanderlinden@us.army.mil
US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases
Source:Eurekalert

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