Research ArticleEbola

Therapeutic Intervention of Ebola Virus Infection in Rhesus Macaques with the MB-003 Monoclonal Antibody Cocktail

Science Translational Medicine  21 Aug 2013:
Vol. 5, Issue 199, pp. 199ra113
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3006608

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Better Late than Never

They say prevention is better than a cure, but sometimes, immediate action isn’t possible. This is especially the case for a deadly disease such as Ebola virus (EBOV) infection, where sporadic outbreaks make it hard to predict when and where treatment will be needed. In patients, neither preventative nor therapeutic options are currently available, but recent studies have shown that a cocktail of monoclonal antibodies may help if given within 1 to 2 days of challenge in macaques. Pettitt et al. now extend this window, showing that this antibody cocktail can be used as a therapeutic in nonhuman primates (NHPs) even after the onset of symptoms.

The authors challenged NHPs with EBOV and didn’t begin treatment until after confirmation of infection and observation of fever. Although the controls here and all historical controls succumbed to infection, 43% of the treated animals survived the challenge. If these observations hold true in humans, these monoclonal antibodies could give hope to people exposed to EBOV.