Washington DC: A recent research has engineered the first antibodies that can potently neutralise the two deadliest strains of the virus that causes Ebola hemorrhagic fever.
The findings, made in mice, are a significant step toward immunotherapies that are effective against all strains of Ebola virus that cause human disease. Dr. Jonathan Lai, who led the study, said that a broadly effective immunotherapy for Ebola virus would be a tremendous advance, since it is impossible to predict which strain of the virus will cause the next outbreak.
Zaire Ebola virus (EBOV) was responsible for the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the largest in history. The next-most pathogenic strain of Ebola virus is Sudan Ebola virus (SUDV).
Although a Zaire-specific vaccine is in clinical trials, no vaccine has yet been approved for preventing infection from any strain of Ebola virus. Therapies for people who become infected are very limited.
In the current study, Dr. Lai's team engineered "bispecific" antibodies that contain key glycoprotein-binding sequences from both the EBOV and SUDV antibodies. The bispecific antibodies effectively neutralized both EBOV and SUDV in tissue culture studies.
In addition, the antibodies provided high levels of protection for mice that had been exposed to lethal doses of either of the viruses.
This study has been published in Scientific Reports.