Ebola-negative neonates born to Ebola-infected mothers after monoclonal antibody therapy: a case series

Lancet Child Adolesc Health. 2020 Dec;4(12):884-888. doi: 10.1016/S2352-4642(20)30278-9.


Background: Few fetuses survive childbirth when the mother is positive for Ebola virus, with almost all being miscarried or stillborn, or dying shortly after birth. Before 2019, only two infants had been reported surviving past 28 days, of whom one tested positive for Ebola virus and subsequently received experimental therapies. Little is understood regarding the care of surviving neonates born to Ebola virus-positive mothers in the postnatal period and how novel anti-Ebola virus therapies might affect neonatal outcomes.

Methods: In this case series, we report on two neonates liveborn during the 2018-20 North Kivu Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo who, along with their Ebola virus-positive mothers, received investigational monoclonal antibody treatment (mAB114 or REGN-EB3) as part of a randomised controlled trial (NCT03719586).

Findings: Both infants were born Ebola-negative and progressed well while in the Ebola Treatment Centre. Neither neonate developed evidence of Ebola virus disease during the course of the admission, and both were Ebola-negative at 21 days and remained healthy at discharge.

Interpretation: To our knowledge these neonates are the first documented as Ebola virus-negative at birth after being born to Ebola virus-positive mothers, and only the third and fourth neonates ever documented to have survived into infancy. Although no conclusions can be drawn from this small case series, and further research is required to investigate the neonatal effects of antibody therapies, these cases warrant review regarding whether post-delivery antibody therapy should be considered for all liveborn neonates of Ebola virus-positive mothers. In the context of a low resource setting, where survival of low-birthweight infants is poor, these cases also highlight the importance of adequate neonatal care.

Funding: None.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Ebolavirus / isolation & purification
  • Female
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / blood
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use*
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical / prevention & control*
  • Live Birth
  • Maternal Death
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / blood
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / drug therapy*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Young Adult


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Immunologic Factors

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03719586