Utilizing Antibodies from Ebola Survivors
News Jan 27, 2016
The findings are significant because it helps researchers further understand the immune response to a virus such as Ebola and could lead to treatments for Ebola as well as other related viruses.
The study involved using blood samples from people who had survived the Ebola Bundibugyo strain.
When someone has survived an Ebola infection, they have developed antibodies. The question is, can these antibodies protect against a future infection with the virus and related filoviruses?
Although several mouse antibody-based treatments have provided protection against Ebola Zaire in animal models, there are no available therapeutics based on antibodies from human survivors and no universal treatments against multiple filoviruses, including Ebola Sudan and Ebola Bundibugyo.
In the study, researchers used the blood of seven people who survived Ebola Bundibugyo virus infection during the 2007 outbreak in Uganda to isolate a large number of B cells that produce antibodies, which are the small protein molecules capable of inactivating the virus.
“The work on antibodies isolated from survivors of filovirus infections, including Marburg and Ebola, was started by James Crowe’s laboratory at Vanderbilt University together with our laboratory about 3 years ago,” said virologist Alex Bukreyev, professor at UTMB and co-corresponding author. “In this study, we isolated a remarkably diverse array of virus-specific antibodies, which appeared to bind to various parts of the envelope protein of the virus. Some of the antibodies neutralized not only Ebola Bundibugyo virus, but also Ebola Zaire and Sudan viruses.”
“The quality of these naturally occurring human antibodies as biological drugs to treat the virus infection is remarkable, and we are doubly encouraged because they recognize multiple species of Ebola,” said immunologist James Crowe, Director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center.
A portion of the isolated antibodies effectively protected mice and guinea pigs against a lethal Ebola Zaire infection.
“These data provide the basis for understanding the immune response to filovirus infections in humans,” said Bukreyev. “Our results provide a roadmap to developing a single antibody-based treatment effective against not only infections caused by Ebola Zaire virus, but also caused by related filoviruses.”
Human Malaria Parasites Grown for the First Time in Dormant FormNews
One of the biggest obstacles to eradicating malaria is a dormant form of the parasite which is resistant to most antimalarial drugs and can reawaken years later, causing disease relapse. Researchers have shown they can grow the dormant parasite in engineered human liver tissue for several weeks, allowing them to closely study how the parasite becomes dormant, what vulnerabilities it may have, and how it springs back to life.READ MORE
Gut Bacteria Latest Ally in Fight Against SepsisNews
Sepsis occurs when the body's response to the spread of bacteria or toxins to the bloodstream damages tissues and organs. The fight against sepsis could get a helping hand from a surprising source: gut bacteria. Researchers found that giving mice particular microbes increased blood levels of immunoglobulin A (IgA) antibodies, which protected against the kind of widespread bacterial invasion that leads to sepsis.READ MORE