Human monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of varicella zoster virus (VZV).
- Human monoclonal antibodies can limit the spread of VZV.
- gH-specific antibodies are complement-independent.
Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV) causes varicella, more commonly known as chickenpox. Once the illness resolves, the virus remains dormant and can later become reactive causing herpes zoster, or shingles. Immunity can protect against this reactivation. However, as the immune response to VZV wanes, either in the immunocompromised or with age, reactivation can occur. Approximately 1 to 4% of people who get shingles are hospitalized for complication. While there are antivirals that can be effective, acyclovir resistant VZV has been reported in several patient populations, specifically the immunocompromised (HIV/AIDS or transplant recipients).
Emory scientists have discovered VZV-specific antibodies that can neutralize the virus in vitro. These antibodies are gH-specific and are able to inhibit cell-to-cell spread of the virus in vitro. Most gE-specific mAbs were able to neutralize VZV but required the presence of complement and were unable to block cell-to-cell spread.
Publication: Sullivan, N. L. et al. (2018). J. Virol, 92(14), e00269-18.