- In a first, scientists have developed an effective, rapid and economical treatment for the deadly Ebola virus using antibodies from horses.
- The post-exposure treatment made with antibodies from horses could be used in the next Ebola outbreak.
- This is a cost-effective treatment that can be used in low-income countries in Africa where equine production facilities are already in operation for producing snake-bite antivenin.
- It’s the first time that equine antibodies have been shown to work effectively against Ebola infection.
- The largest recorded outbreak of Ebola virus occurred primarily in West Africa from 2014 to 2016, infecting 30,000 people and killing more than 11,000, with exported cases in Europe and North America.
- The development of monoclonal antibodies were used in the UK to treat infected health workers returning from Africa.
- The down side is that monoclonal antibodies require considerable investment for scale-up and manufacture, and are expensive.
- Equine antibodies are a considerably cheaper alternative, with manufacturing capacity already in place in Africa.
- Antibodies from vaccinated horses provide a low-cost alternative, and are already in use for rabies, botulism and diphtheria.
Scientists have also developed experimental Ebola vaccine made using an Australian virus called Kunjin, that might also help in the fight against the deadly Ebola virus.