Track 15: Monoclonal Antibodies
The EBV virus goes latent in the body after infection, although it can occasionally be reawakened. It is the main cause of infectious mononucleosis and is linked to multiple sclerosis, Hodgkin lymphoma, and several malignancies, including Hodgkin lymphoma. Severe symptoms and problems from EBV infection are more common in immunocompromised individuals than in immunocompetent individuals, such as transplant patients. The scientists create several experimental mAbs that target two important proteins called gH and gL that are present on the surface of EBV. The two proteins are known to facilitate EBV infection and fusion with human cells. When the investigational mAbs were tested in a lab setting, human B cells and epithelial cells, which line the throat at the initial site of EBV infection, were not infected by EBV. Virologists found several vulnerable locations to target by analyzing the structure of the mAbs and their two surface proteins using X-ray crystallography and advanced microscopy. One of the experimental monoclonal antibodies, known as mAb 769B10, offered nearly full protection against EBV infection in mice. Additionally, the mAb prevented EBV lymphoma in all examined animals. The results demonstrate promising EBV vaccine targets and the potential of investigational mAbs to prevent or treat EBV infection in immunocompromised patients most vulnerable to severe EBV-related illness.