MONDAY, MAY 28, 2018

Washington University study finds possible Chikungunya virus antibodies

Promising new research discoveries on antibodies that neutralize Chikungunya and related viruses -- such as HIV, influenza and hepatitis C -- have been discovered by scientists from the School of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. 

“Our findings support the concept that some epitope (regions of viruses) are highly conserved and can be targeted by specific antibodies with broad spectrum capability,” Michael Diamond, professor of internal medicine at Washington University, recently told Vaccine News Daily. “This is the mantra of HIV, hepatitis C virus and influenza virus vaccine efforts. Our results extend this beyond a single virus (and the diversity within) to multiple related viruses.”

The team realized it found something significant when it observed "that neutralizing antibodies made against one alphavirus (in this case, the Chikungunya virus) could neutralize other distantly related alphaviruses and protect against the development of disease in animal models,” Diamond said.

The research team is confident that these important findings will provide a way forward for individual vaccines or antibody therapies to protect against multiple viruses.

“Now, the next step in the research is to develop immunogens (e.g., recombinant proteins used for immunization) that elicit polyclonal antibody responses that are highly protective against many different alphavirus infections," Diamond said. 

The research conducted in the Washington University laboratory headed by Diamond focuses on the relationship between viral pathogenesis and host immune responses. Diamond also leads studies on the West Nile and Dengue viruses.

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Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

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