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New target to stop Ebola

May. 21, 2018, 8:00 AM

by Niyati Vachharajani

Ebola is a severe and often fatal hemorrhagic fever affecting humans that can be caused by four known Ebola viruses.

Several attempts have been made to prevent the spread of Ebola, including development of an antibody cocktail called “ZMapp.” However, ZMapp is effective against only onemember of the Ebola virus family — Zaire ebolavirus.

James Crowe Jr., MD, and colleagues isolated three naturally occurring antibodies from the blood of human survivors who had been infected with another Ebola virus, Bundibugyo ebolavirus (BDBV).

These antibodies targeted anantigenic peptide on the surface of BDBV that is conserved across all ebolaviruses. Immunization with this peptide also elicited neutralizing antibodies in rabbits.

The study, published May 7 in Nature Microbiology, suggests it may be possible to develop antibody therapies or a universal vaccine effective against multiple Ebola virus family members.

This research was supported by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency of the U.S. Department of Defense and by National Institutes of Health grants AI109711 and AI109762.

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