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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hendra and Nipah: Antibody Treatment for 2 Deadly Viruses Shows Promise in Tests and an Emergency

Via The New York Times, excerpt :

" A treatment using human antibodies against two of the scariest new viruses has protected monkeys in tests, researchers reported last week.

And in an emergency use authorized just after the monkey study, it may have saved the lives of an Australian mother and daughter exposed to a horse dying from one of the viruses.

The antibody, named m102.4, fights two related viruses, Hendra and Nipah, which were discovered in the 1990s in flying fox bats. Antibodies are proteins the body produces against invaders; specific ones called monoclonal antibodies can be produced by growing them in cells into which genes have been spliced.

Nipah usually infects pigs, which get it from food contaminated with bat droppings or urine. It has killed 251 of the 475 people known to have caught it, most of whom worked with pigs."

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