A research team led by scientists at Vanderbilt University Medical Center has developed an antibody mixture that in animals is highly effective in blocking infection by the Ebola virus.
Reporting in the journal Immunity, these findings “could aid in the design of therapeutic cocktails against other viral targets,” the researchers concluded.
Ebola is a severe and often fatal hemorrhagic fever affecting humans that can be caused by four known Ebola viruses.
Previous attempts to develop combinations or mixtures of antibodies that are broadly cross-reactive to the predominant strains of Ebola have been constrained by limited understanding about how the antibodies “cooperate” in neutralizing the virus and by the cost and difficulty of the research.
Now James Crowe Jr., MD, and colleagues in the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center have identified a combination of two new antibodies that neutralize strains of the virus responsible for most of the recent, large-scale and highly fatal Ebola outbreaks in the Congo and West Africa.
As a first step, antibody-producing white blood cells were isolated from survivor blood samples and then fused to fast-growing myeloma (cancer) cells to produce large quantities of “monoclonal” antibodies targeting specific viral strains.
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