Researchers have successfully treated the deadly Ebola virus in infected animals following onset of disease symptoms, according to a report published in Science Translational Medicine.
The results show promise for developing therapies against the virus, which causes hemorrhagic fever with human case fatality rates as high as 90%.
The research team previously demonstrated that the treatment, known as MB-003, protected 100% of non-human primates when given one hour after Ebola exposure. Two-thirds of the animals were protected when treated 48 hours after exposure.
In the current study, 43% of infected non-human primates recovered after receiving the treatment intravenously 104 to 120 hours after infection.
The experimental design differed significantly from the team’s earlier work; this time, infected animals were not treated until they developed measurable symptoms of disease.
Ebola virus has been responsible for numerous deaths in Africa over the past several years. In addition to being a global health concern, the virus also is considered a potential biological threat agent.
Ebola virus replicates quickly to very high levels, thus overwhelming the host’s ability to fight off the infection.
MB-003 is a cocktail of monoclonal antibodies that help bind to and inactivate the virus. In addition, the antibodies recognize infected cells and trigger the immune system to kill them off.
No side effects of the antibodies were observed in the surviving animals. ( Xagena )
Source: U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases ( USAMRIID ), 2013