Single-dose drug protects against all forms of Ebola
Although Ebola vaccines have been developed, each one has typically only been able to protect against a single strain of the virus. A new medication, however, has been shown to ward off all types of Ebola – and it does so via just one low dose.
Known as MBP134, the "two-antibody cocktail" was developed by scientists at the University of Texas Medical Branch.
In tests on non-human primates and ferrets, single 25-mg/kg (milligrams per kilogram) injections of it were found to protect against the Bundibugyo and Sudan strains of the virus, along with the deadliest of the bunch, the Zaire strain. The latter was responsible for the 2013-16 epidemic in West Africa, along with the ongoing outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
It is hoped that once it reaches use, the one-dose drug will also be effective against strains that develop in the future.
"Further studies exploring even lower doses could open the door to treatment via auto-injectors like the kind used for allergic reactions," says Larry Zeitlin, president of Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc., which is commercializing the medication. "The ability to quickly and efficiently provide protection against all Ebola viruses in a single dose would reduce the burden on health care workers in the field during outbreaks, especially in regions that have a less-developed infrastructure."
A paper on the research was recently published in the journal Cell Host and Microbe.