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MRC Human Immunology Unit scientists have isolated therapeutic antibodies from healthy volunteers exposed to the Ebola vaccine but not Ebola virus itself, suggesting that protective therapies could be developed from people who are disease-free.

© NIH NIAID (CC by 2.0)

The researchers say their findings could apply to other infectious diseases from MERS to SARS and avian influenza, paving the way to a fast and cost-effective approach to developing new antibody therapies. Their study was published in the journal Cell Reports.

The Ebola epidemic, ongoing in the Democratic Republic of Congo, resurfaced in West Africa in March 2014, quickly becoming the largest outbreak since it was first discovered in 1976. A worldwide effort to develop treatments has resulted in a handful of promising candidates, including antibody therapies to help treat those already infected.

MRC scientists considered whether blood samples taken from volunteers in vaccine trials could yield protective antibodies against Ebola. These samples are readily available from vaccine trial studies, though they have not until now been considered because of concerns that they may not have the same potential compared to antibodies taken from survivors’ blood.

Read more (MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine website)

The team have also written an article for The Conversation which is available here

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