The latest studies in treating Ebola are looking promising using the ZMAPP antibodies, which are produced by a company in San Diego.
When given to 18 monkeys infected with the Ebola virus, all monkeys survived the infection. When the 3 monkeys were infected and treated with placebo, all died.
This was the data that encouraged the use of this antibody in treating the two Americans who were recently released from the hospitals after finalizing treatment in the U.S.
These antibodies coat and neutralize the Ebola virus. They are created through a complex process that involves identifying antibodies to Ebola in mice, fusing these antibodies with human antibody components, and then having the entire structure genetically produced in tobacco plans. This complex process then results in three antibodies that provide passive immunity when injected into the infected person.
The next step in making this a viable treatment is developing methods for large-scale production of these antibodies and then providing treatment in compassionate use situations for current infected individuals in Africa.