Unusual antibody proves potent against Zika virus

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

November 21, 2022 -- Researchers have identified an unusual type of antibody that, even at miniscule levels, neutralizes the Zika virus in preclinical models. The research, published November 18 in the journal Cell, could lead to better protection for infants from this potentially devastating disease.

Transmitted by infected mosquitoes, and currently circulating in many tropical countries, Zika virus usually causes mild illness in adults. However, during pregnancy, congenital infection can cause severe birth defects in unborn babies, including brain damage. There are currently no Zika vaccines or treatments.

During a 2015 outbreak, researchers collected blood samples from Zika-infected pregnant people, focusing on patients who had given birth to healthy babies and might harbor antibodies capable of preventing the disease. One patient had a healthy baby following two months of detectable Zika blood levels. Her blood cells were found to produce an ultrapotent IgM antibody that prevented viral particles from invading cells. When isolated, the antibody's identity, DH1017.IgM, was surprising, as IgM antibodies are typically weaker, less mature, and produced early in infection.

However, examination of DH1017.IgM's molecular structure when binding to the virus revealed that it had multiple arms that could simultaneously latch onto a viral particle. In mouse experiments, the antibody protected mice from otherwise lethal Zika infections; it also suppressed the virus to the point of being undetectable in the blood. The researchers plan to test the antibody's safety and efficacy in preventing fetal transmission in additional preclinical models.

"It's crucial to get anti-Zika vaccines and therapies that are safe in pregnancy rolled out as soon as there is evidence of an outbreak," Weill Cornell Medical College professor and co-senior author Dr. Sallie Permar, PhD, said in a statement.

Genomics profiling reveals how Zika infects immune cells, suggests antiviral target
A genomics profiling method has revealed how the Zika virus infects human dendritic cells, pointing to a potential target for therapeutic suppression...
Georgetown gets $12.5M NSF award to create institute for emerging virus research
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Georgetown University $12.5 million to establish a collaborative institute for the advancement of research...
Focus on drug-manufacturing optimization prioritizes patient health
As medical innovations and therapeutics advance rapidly and dramatically increase in scale, there is a critical need for manufacturing processes that...
The continued challenges of flavivirus serology
Flaviviruses are a genus of positive-sense RNA viruses, largely transmitted by mosquito and tick vectors that cause infections, including yellow fever,...
Long-lasting IgG antibodies found in blood and saliva of COVID-19 patients
Researchers have discovered that immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus are longer lasting in the blood and saliva of COVID-19 patients...
Enesi Pharma to develop thermostable DNA-based Zika vaccine
Enesi Pharma is partnering with the University of Adelaide to develop a new thermostable, solid-dose DNA vaccine for Zika virus.

Copyright © 2022 scienceboard.net


Conferences
Cell Bio 2022
December 3-7
District of Columbia United States
Connect
Science Advisory Board on LinkedIn
Science Advisory Board on Facebook
Science Advisory Board on Twitter