AsianScientist (May 15, 2018) – A research group in China has identified an antibody that can protect mice from Zika virus (ZIKV) infection and markedly reduce tissue pathology in infected mice. They published their findings in Cell Reports.
ZIKV was first identified in the forests of Uganda in 1947, and infection with the virus was generally benign in humans. However, since 2013, emergent strains of ZIKV have been far more virulent, causing a range of clinical anomalies, including devastating cases of microcephaly.
Neutralizing antibodies are an essential mediator of immunity against viral infection. In this study, scientists from the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Tsinghua University, led by Dr. Xu Zhiheng and Dr. Zhang Linqi respectively, found that a single injection of a human neutralizing antibody protects against ZIKV infection and microcephaly in developing mouse embryos.
Previously, Zhang’s group reported a panel of monoclonal antibodies derived from longitudinal samples of a ZIKV-convalescent individual and characterized their neutralizing activities, epitope specificities and development timeline over the course of infection.
This time, they tested these human monoclonal antibodies in mouse models of ZIKV infection and microcephaly. A single intraperitoneal injection of these antibodies conferred distinct levels of adult and in utero protection from ZIKV infection, which closely mirrored their respective in vitro neutralizing activities.
One antibody, ZK2B10, showed the most potent neutralization activity, completely protecting uninfected mice. It also markedly reduced tissue pathology in infected mice. Thus, ZK2B10 is a promising candidate for the development of antibody-based interventions and may inform the rational design of ZIKV vaccines.
Source: Chinese Academy of Sciences; Photo: Shutterstock.
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