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U.S. Clinical Research Team Discovers Cure for Nipah Infection in Primates
A team of clinical researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, and the U.S. National Institutes of Health collaborated to cure 12 infected monkeys suffering from the deadly Nipah virus using a human antibody called m102.4, a therapeutic breakthrough deemed to offer potential for human treatment.
The Nipah virus is closely related to the Hendra virus, a virus that emerged in the 1900s from Pteropid fruit bats that can affect both horses and humans, causing mild influenza to critical neurological or respiratory ailments. The Nipah virus has been distinctive in its health effects as recent outbreaks reported cases of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), encephalitis, person-to-person contagion, and worst, more than 90 percent fatality rate among humans and domestic animals.
For the antibody therapy breakthrough research, clinical laboratory experiments were performed and to test the effectiveness of the treatment, 12 African green monkeys infected and/or exposed to the lethal Nipah virus were given immunization shots containing the patented m102.4 antibody therapy.
As a result, University of Texas Medical Branch professor and study author Thomas Geisbert concluded, "What makes this study unique is that we have achieved complete protection against death even in animals that received treatment five days after being infected with the Nipah virus when they otherwise would have succumbed within 8 to 10 days of infection."
With the success of the revolutionary antibody therapeutic treatment tested on primates combined with the data from the past Hendra virus clinical laboratory researches, the medical scientists are optimistic in embarking on the m102.4’s Phase I clinical safety trials this year in Australia.
Clinical advances including immunization and vaccine technologies against fatal diseases and infection like the Nipah and Hendra viruses have been successful as it used state-of-the-art animal research laboratory equipment in obtaining precise and reproducible results.
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