Research ArticleInfectious Disease

Two-mAb cocktail protects macaques against the Makona variant of Ebola virus

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Science Translational Medicine  09 Mar 2016:
Vol. 8, Issue 329, pp. 329ra33
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aad9875

One-two punch for Ebola

Antibody cocktails are an appealing therapeutic option for emerging infections such as the recent Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa because of their scalability and specificity. Qiu et al. report that the antibody cocktail used in Ebola virus–infected patients can be further simplified to only two antibodies and that these antibodies can be produced in engineered Chinese hamster ovary cells. This cocktail protected nonhuman primates against the virus responsible for the 2014–2015 outbreak up to 3 days after exposure. Combining these antibodies with those specific for other strains may lead to a broad ebolavirus therapy.


The 2014–2015 Ebola virus (EBOV) outbreak in West Africa highlighted the urgent need for specific therapeutic interventions for infected patients. The human-mouse chimeric monoclonal antibody (mAb) cocktail ZMapp, previously shown to be efficacious in EBOV (variant Kikwit) lethally infected nonhuman primates (NHPs) when administration was initiated up to 5 days, was used in some patients during the outbreak. We show that a two-antibody cocktail, MIL77E, is fully protective in NHPs when administered at 50 mg/kg 3 days after challenge with a lethal dose of EBOV variant Makona, the virus responsible for the ongoing 2014–2015 outbreak, whereas a similar formulation of ZMapp protected two of three NHPs. The chimeric MIL77E mAb cocktail is produced in engineered Chinese hamster ovary cells and is based on mAbs c13C6 and c2G4 from ZMapp. The use of only two antibodies in MIL77E opens the door to a pan-ebolavirus cocktail.

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