Background: Filoviruses including Ebola, Sudan, and other species are emerging zoonotic pathogens representing a significant public health concern with high outbreak potential, and they remain a potential bioterrorism-related threat. We have developed a despeciated equine Ebola polyclonal antibody (E-EIG) postexposure treatment against Ebola virus (EBOV) and evaluated its efficacy in the guinea pig model of EBOV infection.
Methods: Guinea pigs were infected with guinea pig-adapted EBOV (Mayinga strain) and treated with various dose levels of E-EIG (20-100 mg/kg) twice daily for 6 days starting at 24 h postinfection. The E-EIG was also assessed for neutralization activity against related filoviruses including EBOV strains Mayinga, Kikwit, and Makona and the Bundibugyo and Taï Forest ebolavirus species.
Results: Treatment with E-EIG conferred 83% to 100% protection in guinea pigs. The results demonstrated a comparable neutralization activity (range, 1:512-1:896) of E-EIG against all tested strains, suggesting the potential for cross-protection with the polyclonal antibody therapeutic.
Conclusions: This study showed that equine-derived polyclonal antibodies are efficacious against lethal EBOV disease in a relevant animal model. Furthermore, the studies support the utility of the equine antibody platform for the rapid production of a therapeutic product in the event of an outbreak by a filovirus or other zoonotic pathogen.