Research ArticlePERTUSSIS

A cocktail of humanized anti–pertussis toxin antibodies limits disease in murine and baboon models of whooping cough

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Science Translational Medicine  02 Dec 2015:
Vol. 7, Issue 316, pp. 316ra195
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aad0966

Outsmarting whooping cough to help infants

Whooping cough continues to cause severe illness and death in infants worldwide. Whereas antibiotics are effective in the rare cases when pertussis is diagnosed early, medical interventions are limited and invasive during later stages of the disease. In an effort to help critically ill or at-risk infants, Nguyen et al. developed a cocktail of two humanized antibodies that show promise for halting disease progression. The antibodies both bind to the key virulence factor pertussis toxin at distinct sites, mitigating its damaging effects. In murine and baboon models, antibody treatment increased bacterial clearance and curtailed the rise in white blood cell counts associated with poor prognosis in infants.

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