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An antibody-based Zika virus therapeutic that protected monkeys from infection might be safe enough for administration to pregnant women.
Research by the University of Miami and The Scripps Research Institute has led to the development an antibody-based Zika virus therapeutic that protected monkeys from infection. The study, published on Oct. 4, 2017 in Science Translational Medicine, was conducted using blood samples from a patient previously infected with Zika virus. Researchers believe that this antibody combination will be safe enough for administration to pregnant women and likely to cross the placenta, protecting both the pregnant woman and fetus from the virus.
The scientists, funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), isolated immune cells from the patient’s blood and used them to make 91 mAbs. They identified three antibodies that bound to the virus surface proteins, and each neutralized the virus. The researchers then administered a combination of these antibodies to a species of Old World monkey called rhesus macaques, and exposed the animals to Zika virus one day later. During the 21-day study, all four monkeys who received the antibody treatment showed no virus replication.
The testing of this concept is anticipated through the persuasion of human participants, according to a NIH press release. Additionally, the study included collaborators in the United States and Brazil.