A new kind of antibody treatment has eliminated Ebola in several monkeys, yielding promise for a forthcoming vaccine.
No cure currently exists for Ebola, and conventional treatments need to be administered within an hour of infection, a somewhat impractical solution given that symptoms may only appear after several days.
Researchers from the Public Health Agency of Canada and the University of Manitoba used a more effective and expensive technique to get antibodies cloned from a single cell line, producing what are called monoclonal antibodies.
Making a vaccine traditionally involves using a grab bag of different antibodies. But these antibodies can bind to undesirable targets and produce other side effects.
With the new approach, individual immune cells (often a single B cell of a bunny rabbit) are isolated and then cloned. These B cells are then cultured using standard techniques to produce antibodies that are perfect replications of their animal ‘parent’ cell.