Monoclonal antibody cures Marburg infection in monkeys

April 5, 2017
A colorized electron micrograph of the Marburg virus. Credit: Dr. Tom Geisbert, University of Texas Medical Branch

An antibody treatment successfully protected nonhuman primates against the deadly Marburg and Ravn viruses even when given five days after becoming infected, according to the latest findings of a collaborative team from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc., and Vanderbilt University. The findings are now available in Science Translational Medicine.

There are currently no vaccines or drugs approved for human use to protect against the Marburg and Ravn viruses. These two filoviruses, which are in the same virus family as Ebola, cause severe and often lethal disease in people. The average case fatality rate of Marburg virus disease since the first recognized outbreak in 1967 is 80 percent.

Monoclonal antibodies are a technology that is currently in wide use for treating autoimmune diseases and cancers. There are more than 45 monoclonal antibodies approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and European Medicines Agency.

"In this paper, we demonstrated that one monoclonal antibody is able to protect up to 100 percent of Marburg or Ravn virus-infected non-human primates when the antibody treatment is given up to five days following exposure to a lethal amount of the virus," said UTMB's Thomas Geisbert, professor in the department of microbiology and immunology. "These findings extend the growing body of evidence that monoclonal antibodies can provide protection during advanced stages of disease with highly dangerous viruses and could be useful during an epidemic."

The study was conducted in Biosafety Level (BSL)-4 at UTMB's Galveston National Laboratory. BSL-4 is a highly-restricted area where scientists wear positive pressure protective suits and study pathogens that cause severe and often fatal diseases. UTMB has the only functioning BSL-4 laboratory located on an American university campus.

The 2013 to 2016 Ebola virus epidemic highlighted the troubling lack of preventive or treatment options for filoviruses. Some of the therapeutics used to treat those infected with Ebola were developed and tested in the GNL.

"The level of protection observed by Dr. Geisbert's team with this antibody is very impressive. We plan to advance this product towards human safety testing as quickly as possible," said Larry Zeitlin, president of Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc.

Explore further: Experimental Ebola antibody protects monkeys

More information: Chad E. Mire et al, Therapeutic treatment of Marburg and Ravn virus infection in nonhuman primates with a human monoclonal antibody, Science Translational Medicine (2017). DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aai8711

Related Stories

Experimental Ebola antibody protects monkeys

February 25, 2016
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 ...

Leading Ebola researcher says there's an effective treatment

August 29, 2014
A leading U.S. Ebola researcher from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston has gone on record stating that a blend of three monoclonal antibodies can completely protect monkeys against a lethal dose of Ebola ...

Uganda declares itself free of Ebola-like Marburg virus

November 11, 2014
Ugandan health officials on Tuesday declared the country free of the Ebola-like Marburg virus after completing a 42-day surveillance period under World Health Organization (WHO) rules.

Human antibodies target Marburg, Ebola viruses; 1 step closer to vaccine

February 26, 2015
Researchers at Vanderbilt University, the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and The Scripps Research Institute for the first time have shown how human antibodies can neutralize the Marburg virus, a close cousin ...

Post-exposure antibody treatment protects primates from Ebola, Marburg viruses

March 13, 2012
Army scientists have demonstrated, for the first time, that antibody-based therapies can successfully protect monkeys from the deadly Ebola and Marburg viruses. In addition, the animals were fully protected even when treatment ...

Uganda says no fresh cases of Ebola-like Marburg virus

October 21, 2014
Ugandan health officials said Tuesday that all suspected cases of the Ebola-like Marburg virus had tested negative and those held in isolation released.

Recommended for you

Zika virus stifles pregnant women's weakened immune system to harm baby, study finds

August 21, 2017
The Zika virus, linked to congenital birth defects and miscarriages, suppresses a pregnant woman's immune system, enabling the virus to spread and increasing the chances an unborn baby will be harmed, a Keck School of Medicine ...

Fatty liver can cause damage to other organs via crosstalk

August 21, 2017
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is increasingly common. Approximately every third adult in industrialized countries has a morbidly fatty liver. This not only increases the risk of chronic liver diseases such as liver cirrhosis ...

Novel approach to track HIV infection

August 18, 2017
Northwestern Medicine scientists have developed a novel method of tracking HIV infection, allowing the behavior of individual virions—infectious particles—to be connected to infectivity.

Faulty gene linked to obesity in adults

August 18, 2017
Groundbreaking new research linking obesity and metabolic dysfunction to a problem in the energy generators in cells has been published by researchers from the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research and The University ...

Two lung diseases killed 3.6 million in 2015: study

August 17, 2017
The two most common chronic lung diseases claimed 3.6 million lives worldwide in 2015, according to a tally published Thursday in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

New test differentiates between Lyme disease, similar illness

August 16, 2017
Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the United States. But it can be confused with similar conditions, including Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness. A team of researchers led by Colorado ...

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.