New Ebola-fighting antibodies from outbreak survivor identified

New York, Feb 20 (IANS) Researchers have identified a new group of powerful Ebola-fighting antibodies from the blood of a survivor of the 2014 outbreak of the deadly disease.

Because these are human antibodies, not modified mouse antibodies, researchers potentially could quickly use them to a develop a vaccine or therapeutic against Ebola.

“Our paper describes the first in-depth view into the human antibody response to Ebola virus,” said study team leader Laura Walker, senior scientist at Adimab, a New Hampshire -based biotechnology company in the US.

“Within weeks of receiving a blood sample from a survivor of the 2014 Ebola outbreak, we were able to isolate and characterise over 300 monoclonal antibodies that reacted with the Ebola virus surface glycoprotein,” Walker noted.

The findings were published in the journal Science.

The new study took advantage of a recently launched single B cell isolation platform from Adimab.

The researchers used the platform to quickly find more than 300 antibodies that reacted with the Ebola virus surface glycoprotein – the viral structure that fuses with host cells.

Remarkably, 77 percent of the antibodies in the new study showed the potential to neutralise Ebola virus, and several antibodies demonstrated significant protection against the virus in mouse models.

The researchers believe the techniques in this study could be used to find treatments for other emerging diseases, such as Zika virus.

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