THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2016

Antibodies from Ebola survivors may fight disease strains

Scientists are developing several different monoclonal antibody therapies as well as experimental Ebola vaccines. | File photo

A recent study from Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston (UTMB) shows that antibodies from Ebola survivors may be able to help treat the family of Ebola viruses in other patients.

In just two years, over 11,000 people from West Africa have died from Ebola. Using monoclonal antibodies taken from survivors of the virus may help scientists eliminate several species of the group of hemorrhagic viruses.  .

The study, published in Cell journal, proposes using the survivors’ antibodies to help people who become infected.

Scientists are developing several different monoclonal antibody therapies as well as experimental Ebola vaccines. Monoclonal antibodies are made when white blood cells join to myeloma cells, creating hybridomas. These then detect and eliminate targets, such as the Ebola virus.

"In this study, a remarkably diverse array of virus-specific antibodies was isolated, which appeared to bind to various parts of the envelope protein of the virus," Dr. Alexander Bukreyev, UTMB professor and corresponding author of the paper said. "Some of the antibodies neutralized not only Ebola Bundibugyo virus, but also Ebola Sudan virus and Ebola Zaire virus, similar to that which caused the recent outbreak in West Africa.”

Ebola transmits through body fluids, including semen and blood. The virus causes bleeding, killing approximately 50 percent of the people it infects.

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