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IgY antibodies against Ebola virus possess post-exposure protection and excellent thermostability

By Yuan Zhang, Yanqiu Wei, Yunlong Li, Xuan Wang, Yang Liu, Deyu Tian, Xiaojuan Jia, Rui Gong, Wenjun Liu, Limin Yang

Posted 21 May 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.05.21.108159

Ebola virus (EBOV) is the most virulent pathogens that cause hemorrhagic fever with high mortality rates in humans and nonhuman primates. The postexposure antibody therapies to prevent EBOV infection are considered efficient. However, due to the poor thermal stability of mammalian antibody, their application in the tropics has been limited. Here, we developed a thermostable therapeutic antibody against EBOV based on chicken immunoglobulin Y (IgY). The IgY antibodies demonstrated excellent thermal stability, which retained their neutralizing activity at 25°C for one year, in contrast to conventional polyclonal or monoclonal antibodies (MAbs). We immunized laying hens with a variety of EBOV vaccine candidates and confirmed that VSVΔG/EBOVGP encoding the EBOV glycoprotein could induce high titer neutralizing antibodies against EBOV. The therapeutic efficacy of immune IgY antibodies  in vivo was evaluated in the newborn Balb/c mice model. Lethal dose of virus challenged mice were treated 2 or 24 h post-infection with different doses of anti-EBOV IgY. The group receiving a high dose of 106 NAU/kg (neutralizing antibody units/kilogram) achieved complete protection with no signs of disease, while the low-dose group was only partially protected. In contrast, all mice receiving naïve IgY died within 10 days. In conclusion, the anti-EBOV IgY exhibits excellent thermostability and protective efficacy, and it is very promising to be developed as alternative therapeutic entities.

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