Ebola treatment is boon to millions

For families who can’t afford current treatments for the deadly Ebola virus, a UQ-led discovery is a life saver.

A new affordable treatment developed through collaboration between Australian, French and Russian scientists and a local Queensland company, uses antibodies from horses and is administered after exposure to the deadly virus.

Research leader Professor Alexander Khromykh from the UQ School of Chemistry and Molecular Bioscience’s said the treatment was suited to low-income countries in Africa where equine production facilities are already in operation for producing snake-bite antivenom.

"It’s the first time that equine antibodies have been shown to work effectively against Ebola infection,” Professor Khromykh said.

“Antibodies from vaccinated horses provide a low-cost alternative, and are already in use for rabies, botulism and diphtheria.”

“Applying our approach to the treatment of other infections may change the way we have previously responded to life-threatening disease outbreaks,” he said.

More than 30,000 people were infected, 30 per cent of which died in the largest recorded outbreak of Ebola in West Africa from 2014 to 2016, with exported cases in Europe and North America.

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