Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) has repeatedly caused outbreaks in the Arabian Peninsula. To date, no approved medical countermeasures (MCM) are available to combat MERS-CoV infections. Several neutralizing human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), including m336, a germline-like human mAb, have been chosen as promising MCM for MERS-CoV. However, their clinical development has been hindered by the lack of a robust animal model that recapitulate the morbidity and mortality of human infections. We assessed the prophylactic and therapeutic efficacy of m336 by using well-characterized transgenic mice shown to be highly sensitive to MERS-CoV infection and disease. We found that mice treated with m336 prior to or post lethal MERS-CoV challenging were fully protected, compared to control mice which sufferered from profound weight loss and uniform death within days after infection. Taken together, these results support further development of m336 and other human monoclonal antibodies as potential therapeutics for MERS-CoV infection.
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