Isolation of potent neutralizing antibodies from a survivor of the 2014 Ebola virus outbreak

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Science  04 Mar 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6277, pp. 1078-1083
DOI: 10.1126/science.aad5788

Profiling the antibody response to Ebola

The recent Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa illustrates the need not only for a vaccine but for potential therapies, too. One promising therapy is monoclonal antibodies that target Ebola's membrane-anchored glycoprotein (GP). Bornholdt et al. isolated and characterized 349 antibodies from a survivor of the 2014 outbreak. A large fraction showed some neutralizing activity and several were quite potent. Structural analysis revealed an important site of vulnerability on the membrane stalk region of GP. Antibodies targeting this area were therapeutically effective in Ebola virus–infected mice.

Science, this issue p. 1078


Antibodies targeting the Ebola virus surface glycoprotein (EBOV GP) are implicated in protection against lethal disease, but the characteristics of the human antibody response to EBOV GP remain poorly understood. We isolated and characterized 349 GP-specific monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) from the peripheral B cells of a convalescent donor who survived the 2014 EBOV Zaire outbreak. Remarkably, 77% of the mAbs neutralize live EBOV, and several mAbs exhibit unprecedented potency. Structures of selected mAbs in complex with GP reveal a site of vulnerability located in the GP stalk region proximal to the viral membrane. Neutralizing antibodies targeting this site show potent therapeutic efficacy against lethal EBOV challenge in mice. The results provide a framework for the design of new EBOV vaccine candidates and immunotherapies.

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