Combination antibody may fight bird flu
Bioengineered bird flu antibodies with a related human
antibody attached could work as both vaccine and treatment during a major
outbreak in people, a new study indicates.
Researchers reporting in the latest issue of the open-access journal Respiratory Research
have produced 'humanised monoclonal'
Higher doses of these antibodies were also effective against the disease
when given after infection, the researchers added.
"We have shown here the proof of principle that passive antibody therapy
can be an effective tool for both prophylaxis against and treatment of highly
pathogenic H5N1 avian
virus, providing the immediate immunity needed, which combined
with social distancing could limit the transmission of H5N1 to others and
contain a future influenza pandemic," the researchers said.
Other experts were only cautiously optimistic.
Proof of principle is fine, said Dr John Treanor, a professor of medicine,
microbiology and immunology at the University of Rochester
, but lots of different things need to
be done to put the findings to practical use.
Ultimately, he said, "what you really need to do is to take some product
like this monoclonal antibody, find people with H5N1 influenza and see if it
makes them better."
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