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Human antibody halts SARS in hamsters

7:19pm, October 12, 2004

From Boston, at a meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America

Scientists are working feverishly to develop treatments for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), unsure of when and where that recently discovered viral infection might reappear. Several potential vaccines have progressed to the testing stage in animals (SN: 1/10/04, p. 28: SARS vaccine triggers immunity in monkeys; 7/3/04, p. 3: SARS Control: First nasal vaccine effective in monkeys).

Now, researchers have demonstrated that one treatment can not only prevent infections if received in advance of exposure to the SARS virus but also ameliorate an infection already in progress. The new treatment relies on antibodies derived from human immune cells exposed to the SARS virus.

Donna Ambrosino of Massachusetts Biological Labs in Worcester and her colleagues initially produced many copies of that antibody, which they had determined could

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