Therapeutic treatment of Marburg and Ravn virus infection in nonhuman primates with a human monoclonal antibody

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Science Translational Medicine  05 Apr 2017:
Vol. 9, Issue 384, eaai8711
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aai8711

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Fighting filoviruses with antibody therapy

Like other filoviruses such as Ebola virus, Ravn and Marburg viruses cause hemorrhagic fever in humans with high morbidity rates. Mire et al. tested the ability of previously identified human monoclonal antibodies to protect guinea pigs from lethal infection. One candidate antibody was then administered several days after lethal Marburg or Ravn infection in nonhuman primates and was able to reduce clinical symptoms and confer almost uniform protection. This antibody is a promising therapeutic that could be helpful in future filovirus outbreaks.


As observed during the 2013–2016 Ebola virus disease epidemic, containment of filovirus outbreaks is challenging and made more difficult by the lack of approved vaccine or therapeutic options. Marburg and Ravn viruses are highly virulent and cause severe and frequently lethal disease in humans. Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are a platform technology in wide use for autoimmune and oncology indications. Previously, we described human mAbs that can protect mice from lethal challenge with Marburg virus. We demonstrate that one of these mAbs, MR191-N, can confer a survival benefit of up to 100% to Marburg or Ravn virus–infected rhesus macaques when treatment is initiated up to 5 days post-inoculation. These findings extend the small but growing body of evidence that mAbs can impart therapeutic benefit during advanced stages of disease with highly virulent viruses and could be useful in epidemic settings.

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