Efficacy of antibody-based therapies against Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in common marmosets

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Cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) continue to be identified and with a lack of effective clinical treatment and no preventative strategies, treatment using convalescent plasma or monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) is a potential quick route to an intervention. Passive immunotherapy via either convalescent plasma or mAbs has proven to be effective for other infectious agents. Following infection with MERS-CoV, common marmosets were treated with high titer hyperimmune plasma or the mAb m336, at 6 and 48 h post inoculation. Both treatments reduced signs of clinical disease, but reduction in viral loads in the respiratory tract were only found in the hyperimmune plasma group. A decrease in gross pathology was found only in the mAb-treated group, but no histological differences were observed between treated and control animals. While both hyperimmune plasma and the m336 treatments reduced the severity of disease in the common marmoset, neither treatment resulted in full protection against disease.HighlightsTreatment of MERS-CoV-infected common marmosets with either m336 or hyperimmune plasma reduced signs of clinical disease.Only treatment with hyperimmune plasma resulted in reduced viral load.Only treatment with monoclonal antibody m336 resulted in reduced gross pathology.No histological differences were observed between untreated and treated common marmosets.

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