Antibody therapy found promising against MERS virus

New York, Feb 18 (IANS) A new treatment for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) has been found to protect mice from infection, according to a study.

MERS, a disease that can cause severe respiratory symptoms and has a death rate of 40 percent, has killed nearly 600 people since it was first discovered four years ago in Saudi Arabia.

The treatment – an antibody that blocks the MERS virus – was produced by cows that had been genetically modified to mimic certain aspects of the human immune system.

These cows were given a new MERS vaccine that led to production of anti-MERS antibodies in large quantities.

These antibodies were then purified to produce the therapeutic that was tested in the MERS-infected mice.

“These results are very promising,” said one of the lead researchers on the study Matthew Frieman, associate professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in the US.

“This is important not only because it gives us a potential way to attack MERS, but also because it provides evidence that using these transgenic cows can rapidly produce therapeutics,” Frieman noted.

SAB, a biopharmaceutical company based in South Dakota, US provided the genetically modified cows, a technology that it invented.

Novavax, a vaccine biotech company based in Maryland in the US, provided the vaccine that triggered the antibody production in the cows.

The next step, which will occur in the next three to six months, will be a human clinical trial to test the safety of the therapeutic. If that works, a Phase 2 trial will follow to test whether it is effective for use in humans, in emergency situations, the researchers said.

Leave a Reply

Please enter your comment!

The opinions, views, and thoughts expressed by the readers and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not reflect the opinions of or any employee thereof. is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the readers. Responsibility for the content of comments belongs to the commenter alone.  

We request the readers to refrain from posting defamatory, inflammatory comments and not indulge in personal attacks. However, it is obligatory on the part of to provide the IP address and other details of senders of such comments to the concerned authorities upon their request.

Hence we request all our readers to help us to delete comments that do not follow these guidelines by informing us at Lets work together to keep the comments clean and worthful, thereby make a difference in the community.

Please enter your name here