The blood of Ebola survivors might be the key to beating Ebola in other patients.
“The quality of these naturally occurring human antibodies as biological drugs to treat the virus infection is remarkable, and we are doubly encouraged because they recognize multiple species of Ebola,” James Crowe, immunologist and director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center, said.
Researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston, The Scripps Research Institute and Integral Molecular Inc. teamed up to find that a single strain of the Ebola virus can kill several other strains of Ebola.
“The work on antibodies isolated from survivors of filovirus infections, including Marburg and Ebola, was started by James Crowe’s laboratory at Vanderbilt University together with our laboratory about three years ago,” Alex Bukreyev, virologist and professor at UTMB, said. “In this study, we isolated a remarkably diverse array of virus-specific antibodies, which appeared to bind to various parts of the envelope protein of the virus. Some of the antibodies neutralized not only Ebola Bundibugyo virus, but also Ebola Zaire and Sudan viruses.”
The study tested the blood of seven Ebola survivors from the 2007 outbreak in Uganda. The scientists isolated a significant number of B cells, which produce antibodies that are the protein molecules that can deactivate the disease.