Scientists are reporting progress in the fight against the deadly Hendra virus following the development of a treatment which shows great potential to save the lives of people who become infected with the virus.
A scientific team from CSIRO and the US has demonstrated that administering human monoclonal antibodies after exposure to Nipah virus, which is closely related to Hendra virus, protected animals from challenge in a disease model.
According to CSIRO's Dr Deborah Middleton, who led the experiments at Australia's maximum biosecurity facility, CSIRO's Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) in Geelong, said the findings are extremely encouraging.
"Our research clearly suggests that an effective treatment for Hendra virus infections in humans should be possible, given the very strong cross-reactive activity this antibody has against Hendra virus," she said.
Antibodies - proteins found in blood or other bodily fluids of vertebrates - are used by the immune system to identify and neutralise bacteria and viruses.