Nanobodies Are Potential Therapeutic Agents for the Ebola Virus Infection

Acta Naturae. 2021 Oct-Dec;13(4):53-63. doi: 10.32607/actanaturae.11487.


Ebola fever is an acute, highly contagious viral disease with a mortality rate that can reach 90%. There are currently no licensed therapeutic agents specific to Ebola in the world. Monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) with viral-neutralizing activity and high specificity to the Ebola virus glycoprotein (EBOV GP) are considered as highly effective potential antiviral drugs. Over the past decade, nanobodies (single-domain antibodies, non-canonical camelid antibodies) have found wide use in the diagnosis and treatment of various infectious and non-infectious diseases. In this study, a panel of nanobodies specifically binding to EBOV GP was obtained using recombinant human adenovirus 5, expressing GP (Ad5-GP) for alpaca (Vicugna pacos) immunization, for the first time. Based on specific activity assay results, affinity constants, and the virus-neutralizing activity against the recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus pseudotyped with EBOV GP (rVSV-GP), the most promising clone (aEv6) was selected. The aEv6 clone was then modified with the human IgG1 Fc fragment to improve its pharmacokinetic and immunologic properties. To assess the protective activity of the chimeric molecule aEv6-Fc, a lethal model of murine rVSV-GP infection was developed by using immunosuppression. The results obtained in lethal model mice have demonstrated the protective effect of aEv6-Fc. Thus, the nanobody and its modified derivative obtained in this study have shown potential protective value against Ebola virus.

Keywords: Ebola virus; nanobody; recombinant adenoviral vector; recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus.