Web Zap*Germs Archive

April 25, 2005

Monoclonal Antibody Treatment Developed for West Nile Virus

Dr. Michael Diamond of Washington University in St. Louis, reports that his research group has identified and tested a strain of monoclonal antibody that will cure mice infected with West Nile Virus (WNV), and protect uninfected mice against the disease. The antibody strain was one of 46 monoclonal antibodies developed from people who had recovered from West Nile fever.
West Nile disease, common in North Africa, parts of Europe and the Middle East, first appeared in New York in 1999 and quickly spread across the continent, affecting Canada and Mexico as well.

It infects birds, horses and people and is spread by mosquitoes. In 2003 it infected a reported 2,300 people and killed 264, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2004 it infected 2,470 and killed 88.

The monoclonal antibody treatement is one possible treatment for WNV in humans; the other is a vaccine. MacroGenics is working on both solutions. For horse owners there are already two equine West Nile vaccines available.


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