Two companion papers published online on January 9 in Cell Host & Microbe show that a new human antibody cocktail works against all three major disease-causing ebolaviruses: Ebola virus (formerly known as “Ebola Zaire”), Sudan virus and Bundibugyo virus. In the first study, a team led by Kartik Chandran, Ph.D. described MBP134, a cocktail of two monoclonal antibodies (mAbs)—one isolated from a human Ebola survivor, the other from the same survivor but further engineered to recognize and neutralize Sudan virus. MBP134 inhibited infection by all three ebolaviruses in guinea pigs. An improved version called MBP134AF harnessed the power of natural killer immune cells and proved more effective than any previous anti-Ebola mAbs. In the second study, a team led by Zachary Bornholdt, Ph.D., tested the MBP134AF cocktail in ferrets and macaques infected with the three ebolaviruses. The cocktail was not only protective against all three pathogens, but just a single dose inhibited viral infection and reversed disease in the macaques. The development of MBP134AF could be a model for quickly engineering new drugs against emerging pathogens. Dr. Chandran is professor of microbiology & immunology and the Harold and Muriel Block Faculty Scholar in Virology at Einstein. Dr. Bornholdt is director of antibody discovery at Mapp Biopharmaceutical, Inc.
Read a Q&A with Dr. Chandran
Posted on: Tuesday, January 08, 2019