Antibody therapy for Ebola: Is the tide turning around?

Xiangguo Qiu, Gary P. Kobinger

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Ebola viruses can cause severe hemorrhagic fever in humans and nonhuman primates with fatality rates up to 90%, and are identified as biosafety level 4 pathogens and CDC Category A Agents of Bioterrorism. To date, there are no approved therapies and vaccines available to treat these infections. Antibody therapy was estimated to be an effective and powerful treatment strategy against infectious pathogens in the late 19th, early 20th centuries but has fallen short to meet expectations to widely combat infectious diseases. Passive immunization for Ebola virus was successful in 2012, after over 15 years of failed attempts leading to skepticism that the approach would ever be of potential benefit. Currently, monoclonal antibody (mAbs)-based therapies are the most efficient at reversing the progression of a lethal Ebola virus infection in nonhuman primates, which recapitulate the human disease with the highest similarity. Novel combinations of mAbs can even fully cure lethally infected animals after clinical symptoms and circulating virus have been detected, days into the infection. These new developments have reopened the door for using antibody-based therapies for filovirus infections. Furthermore, they are reigniting hope that these strategies will contribute to better control the spread of other infectious agents and provide new tools against infectious diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)964-967
Number of pages4
JournalHuman Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Antibody therapy
  • Ebola virus
  • Filovirus
  • Infectious disease
  • Nonhuman primates
  • Passive immunization
  • mAb cocktail

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology


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