U.S. Army develops successful Ebola vaccine

More than a decade of collaborative U.S. Army and biopharmaceutical industry research has resulted in the development of a promising Ebola antibody treatment.

A new Ebola virus study has shown the vaccine candidate, known as MB-003, to be effective in preventing disease in infected nonhuman primates. When administered an hour after infection, all of the animals survived.

MB-003 was successful in protecting two-thirds of the subjects when administered up to 48 hours after infection.

Dr. Gene Olinger, a virologist at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, said the scientists involved in the vaccine's development were successful at combining various distinct technologies in order to develop a single, effective medical countermeasure.

"It is rare that an antiviral compound prevents Ebola virus infection with limited to no morbidity in treated animals at any point of treatment following infection by this lethal virus," Olinger said, GeneNGNews.com reports. "Until recently, attempts to utilize antibodies to provide protection against Ebola virus have been met with failure. The level of protection against disease that we saw with MB-003 was impressive."

The antibody cocktail was initially developed using the mouse model, but when it was humanized it was manufactured in a tobacco plant-based production system created by Kentucky BioProcessing. The plant-based antibodies have been proven to be just as effective as those produced in a Chinese hamster ovary-based system but more cost-effective, according to GeneNGNews.com.

The study was recently published in the online edition of the journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.