Daily News Archive

Search nearly 75,000 unique Daily News articles.

Daily News Subscription

Hendra Vaccine Saves Monkeys

Wednesday, 26th October 2011

Scientists “are close to producing a working vaccine for the deadly Hendra virus, publishing the results of their successful trial on monkeys a week after the disease was declared endemic in 2 Australian states” reported The Australian. The US-based research team (publishing in the journal Science Translational Medicine) confirmed they had “inoculated 12 laboratory monkeys with a human antibody that had also been administered to 3 Australians exposed to the disease”. Biotechnologists in Brisbane “will now prepare to conduct human trials before the vaccine (known as m102.4) can be licensed for mass production”. The disease (which is carried by flying foxes & transmissible to humans via horses) “has a 57% mortality rate, having killed 4 of the 7 people who contracted it since 1994”. And 34 horses “have succumbed to the disease, including 20 from outbreaks detected since June this year”. The research (undertaken in Montana) was conducted on 14 African green monkeys, “12 of which were administered the antibody; each of the monkeys was then exposed to Hendra, with the 2 control monkeys dying from the disease”. After the US study on monkeys concluded last year, the antibody treatment was successfully administered to a Queensland mother Rebecca Day & her 12-year-old daughter Mollie Day “who were exposed to the bodily fluids of their Hendra-affected horse”. Scientists say “more study needs to be done before the antibody can be used as a widespread remedy, but Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital has stocks of the highly experimental antibody treatment ready to use if necessary”. Biotechnologist Trent Munro (who heads production of the antibodies at the Australian Institute of Biotechnology & Nanotechnology in Brisbane) said the US scientists “believed the treatment was effective because the antibodies bound themselves to G proteins on the surface of the Hendra virus, which prevented the virus from infecting a person's healthy cells. This study builds on already published research into ferrets & their protection from the Hendra virus, but it is a big step from ferrets to monkeys. The fact their research has been successful with monkeys indicates it may also be effective with humans.”

« Previous
Return to
26th October 2011 News
Next »