Anti-bodies that fight Ebola viruses are now a reality

Researchers at Vanderbilt University closer to developing effective antibody treatment against viruses causing lethal disease.

Washington DC: Finally, anti-bodies to three major Ebola viruses have now been developed.

Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center are a step closer to developing a broadly effective antibody treatment against these viruses that cause the lethal disease in humans.

Researchers found that the isolation of two potent monoclonal antibodies from human survivors of Ebola virus disease in cell culture studies efficiently neutralized the Zaire, Sudan and Bundibugyo Ebola viruses.

The antibodies, EBOV-515 and EBOV-520, also showed the capacity to protect against infection by these viruses in animal models.

Researchers said further study is needed as these antibodies could lead to development of injectable antibody "cocktails" for people at high risk of being infected by Ebola viruses.

The hope is that the antibodies would work like heat-seeking missiles that would seek out and destroy the viruses before they can wreak havoc in the body.

"Our team was very excited to discover these new antibodies that have the capacity to treat all Ebola viruses," said a lead researcher, James Crowe Jr.

"They appear very promising for development as a treatment and prevention for Ebola virus disease," he added.

Ebola virus disease was first reported in Central Africa in 1976; it has the potential to cause massive bleeding. The death rate is about 50 percent. The virus is spread by contact with contaminated body fluids, including blood and semen.

A major outbreak in West Africa claimed more than 11,000 lives between 2014 and 2016. Earlier this month the World Health Organization reported 29 deaths from a smaller outbreak that began in April in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The study appears in the Immunity journal.

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