A research team that included scientists from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has identified a new group of powerful antibodies to fight Ebola virus. The antibodies, isolated from the blood of a survivor of the 2014 Ebola outbreak and the largest panel reported to date, could guide the development of a vaccine or therapeutic against Ebola. The new study also revealed a previously unknown site of vulnerability in the structure of the deadly virus. "Our Science paper describes the first in-depth view into the human antibody response to Ebola virus," said team leader Laura Walker, Ph.D., Senior Scientist at Adimab, LLC, and an alumna of TSRI's Ph.D. program. "Within weeks of receiving a blood sample from a survivor of the 2014 Ebola outbreak, we were able to isolate and characterize over 300 monoclonal antibodies that reacted with the Ebola virus surface glycoprotein." Co-authors of the paper included TSRI lab heads Professor Erica Ollmann Saphire (also co-director of the Global Virus Network Center of Excellence at TSRI); Associate Professor Andrew Ward; and Professor Dennis Burton (also Scientific Director of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative's (IAVI) Neutralizing Antibody Center and the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-sponsored Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology and Immunogen Discovery (CHAVI-ID), both at TSRI). The study was published online on February 18, 2016, in the journal Science. The open-access article is titled “Isolation of Potent Neutralizing Antibodies from a Survivor of the 2014 Ebola Virus Outbreak.” Studies at TSRI and other institutions have shown that Ebola virus has several weak points in its structure where antibodies can target and neutralize the virus.
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