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Disease Area Infectious diseases, Immunology, Public health

Andes Antibody Advances

Andes Hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (AHCPS) is a disease endemic to the Americas. Characterized by fever, headache and gastrointestinal symptoms, it often progresses to severe cardiovascular and pulmonary hypertension – with a fatality rate approaching 40 percent. Worryingly, the Andes Hantavirus (ANHV) and its associated impact on human health is a steadily growing problem across South America, with infection rates doubling year on year. Because an effective vaccine or therapy remains elusive, there is considerable concern that a large-scale outbreak could prove catastrophic to local communities.

Now, researchers in Chile, the USA and Germany have developed an antibody discovery platform that generated specific neutralizing antibodies (nABs) able to inhibit the ability of AHCPS in an in vivo hamster model. Specifically, the team examined the neutralizing properties of sera from over 20 patients, and then isolated and cloned ANHV glycoprotein specific memory B cells from those patients with the highest levels of neutralizing activity. The result? Two distinct but highly neutralizing strains of antibody. When the antibodies were applied to in vivo hamster models, the results were promising; all hamsters, whether given single or cocktail antibody treatments, survived the duration of the study.

The next translational step for the team? “To complete pre-clinical characterization of the antibodies and the paperwork to produce a batch of doses in GMP standard for use in clinical trials,” says María Inés Barría, one of the lead researchers behind the work.

Notably, the work could have implications beyond AHCPS: “The platform we develop to identify and characterize the antibodies can be used to develop or speed development of human monoclonal antibodies against other infectious diseases,” says Barría.

 

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  1. J L Garrido et al., “Two recombinant human monoclonal antibodies that protect against lethal Andes Hantavirus infection in vivo”, Sci.Trans. Med. 10;486, p1-12 (2018) PMID: 30463919.
About the Author
Jonathan James

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