Posted on Jan 10, 2019, 9 p.m.
A combination of monoclonal antibodies has been developed that has protected animals from all 3 Ebola viruses that cause human disease; MBP134 is the first experimental treatment to successfully protect monkeys against Ebola virus, Sudan virus and Bundibugyo virus which may lead to an effective therapeutic, as published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe.
Over 20 Ebola virus outbreaks have occurred since first documentation in 1976; the 2013-16 Western Africa epidemic was the largest to date sickening upwards of 28,000 people and causing over 11,00 deaths. According to W.H.O an ongoing outbreak in the eastern Kivu region of DRC has become the second largest in the world.
The US FDA has not approved any ebola virus medical countermeasures to date. Experimental vaccines and therapeutics including 3 mAbs are being studied in the field, however despite their promise they only target a single Ebola virus being ineffective against the other 2.
MBP134 is made up of two mAbs that were previously discovered by the same team researching the blood of a human survivor of the 2013-16 outbreak that were shown to target key sites of vulnerabilities shared by Ebola viruses.
Kartik Chandran, Ph.D led a team to improve activity of one of the mAbs against the Sudan virus which was demonstrated to work well with the second naturally occurring mAb to block infection from all 3 viruses, as well as protect guinea pigs against Sudan and Ebola viruses. Modification of the mAbs to harness their killer immune cells enhanced MBP134’s protective efficacy even further.
Dr. Zahary A. Bornholdt, Ph.D led another team to investigate the cocktail in large animal models in which a single low dose of MBP134 was found to protect monkey models against all three Ebola viruses associated with human disease, treatment was observed to still be effective even when treatment began 4-7 days after infection.
John M. Dye, Ph.D of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases notes developing a single treatment may potentially be used for patients who may be suffering from all three forms of Ebola viruses, and be an advancement in the field which has implications for treatment of Sudan and Bundibugyo viruses as well as newly emerging Ebola viruses.
Materials provided by US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.
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