Experimental Ebola antibody protects monkeys

February 25, 2016
The Ebola virus surface glycoprotein (blue) is shown bound by protective antibodies mAb114 (pink/white) and mAb100 (purple/white). Credit: NIAID

Scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and colleagues have discovered that a single monoclonal antibody—a protein that attacks viruses—isolated from a human Ebola virus disease survivor protected non-human primates when given as late as five days after lethal Ebola infection. The antibody can now advance to testing in humans as a potential treatment for Ebola virus disease. There are currently no licensed treatments for Ebola infection, which caused more than 11,000 deaths in the 2014-2015 outbreak in West Africa. The findings are described in two articles to be published online by Science on February 25.

NIAID researchers obtained and tested blood samples from a survivor of the 1995 Ebola outbreak in Kikwit, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and discovered the survivor retained antibodies against Ebola. Investigators from the Institute for Research in Biomedicine in Switzerland then isolated specific antibodies for potential use as a therapeutic for Ebola infection. Investigators from the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases administered a lethal dose of Zaire ebolavirus to four rhesus macaques, waited five days, and then treated three of the macaques with daily intravenous injections of the monoclonal antibody, known as mAb114, for three consecutive days. The untreated control macaque showed indicators of Ebola virus disease and died on day nine, but the treatment group survived and remained free of Ebola symptoms.

NIAID and Dartmouth College researchers then studied how mAb114 neutralizes the Ebola virus and determined that it binds to the core of the Ebola glycoprotein, blocking its interaction with a receptor on human cells. This area of the Ebola glycoprotein, called the receptor binding domain, was previously thought to be unreachable by antibodies because it is well-hidden by other parts of the virus, and only becomes exposed after the virus enters the inside of cells. This is the first antibody to demonstrate the ability to neutralize the virus by this interaction between the virus and its cellular receptor. Together the evidence identifies a novel site of vulnerability on the Ebola virus and suggests mAb114 could be an effective therapy and warrants further exploration, according to the authors.

Explore further: Experimental immunotherapy zaps two most lethal Ebola virus strains

More information: D Corti et al. Protective Monotherapy Against Lethal Ebola Virus Infection by a Potent Neutralizing Antibody. Science DOI: 10.1126/science.aad5224 (2016)

J Misasi et al. Structural and Molecular Basis for Ebola Virus Neutralization by Protective Human Antibodies. Science DOI: 10.1126/science.aad6117 (2016)

Related Stories

Experimental immunotherapy zaps two most lethal Ebola virus strains

January 13, 2016
Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) have engineered the first antibodies that can potently neutralize the two deadliest strains ...

Researchers discover new Ebola-fighting antibodies in blood of outbreak survivor (Update)

February 18, 2016
A research team that included scientists from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has identified a new group of powerful antibodies to fight Ebola virus.

New study highlights effectiveness of a herpesvirus CMV-based vaccine against Ebola

February 15, 2016
As the latest in a series of studies, researchers at Plymouth University, National Institutes of Health and University of California, Riverside, have shown the ability of a vaccine vector based on a common herpesvirus called ...

Experimental Ebola vaccines well tolerated, immunogenic in phase 2 study

February 24, 2016
Two investigational vaccines designed to protect against Ebola virus disease were well-tolerated and induced an immune response among 1,000 vaccinated participants in the Phase 2 randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial ...

Antibodies may provide 'silver bullet' for Ebola viruses

January 21, 2016
There may be a "silver bullet" for Ebola, a family of hemorrhagic viruses, one of which has killed more than 11,000 people in West Africa in the past two years.

Study: Experimental Ebola drug ZMapp may benefit patients, but insufficient data

February 24, 2016
According to initial results from a randomized, controlled trial of the experimental Ebola treatment ZMapp, the monoclonal antibody cocktail was well-tolerated and showed promise. Due to decreasing incidence in Ebola, the ...

Recommended for you

Researchers report new system to study chronic hepatitis B

July 25, 2017
Scientists from Princeton University's Department of Molecular Biology have successfully tested a cell-culture system that will allow researchers to perform laboratory-based studies of long-term hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections. ...

Research examines lung cell turnover as risk factor and target for treatment of influenza pneumonia

July 24, 2017
Influenza is a recurring global health threat that, according to the World Health Organization, is responsible for as many as 500,000 deaths every year, most due to influenza pneumonia, or viral pneumonia. Infection with ...

Scientists propose novel therapy to lessen risk of obesity-linked disease

July 24, 2017
With obesity related illnesses a global pandemic, researchers propose in the Journal of Clinical Investigation using a blood thinner to target molecular drivers of chronic metabolic inflammation in people eating high-fat ...

Raccoon roundworm—a hidden human parasite?

July 24, 2017
The raccoon that topples your trashcan and pillages your garden may leave more than just a mess. More likely than not, it also contaminates your yard with parasites—most notably, raccoon roundworms (Baylisascaris procyonis).

Google searches can be used to track dengue in underdeveloped countries

July 20, 2017
An analytical tool that combines Google search data with government-provided clinical data can quickly and accurately track dengue fever in less-developed countries, according to new research published in PLOS Computational ...

MRSA emerged years before methicillin was even discovered

July 19, 2017
Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) emerged long before the introduction of the antibiotic methicillin into clinical practice, according to a study published in the open access journal Genome Biology. It was ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.