A new study highlights the biochemical mechanisms behind ZMapp, a promising experimental treatment against Ebola virus infection developed with the involvement of the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Using single-particle electron microscopy, researchers determined the structures of each monoclonal antibody in the Zmapp cocktail and how each one binds to vulnerable sites on the Ebola virus. Two antibodies disrupt the ability of the Ebola virus to enter human cells, while a third antibody flags the virus for destruction by the body’s immune system.

The study furthers our understanding of antibody cocktails against Ebola virus and will help in the design of future treatments.

Original research paper published in PNAS on November 17, 2014.

Names and affiliations of selected authors

Andrew B. Ward, The Scripps Research Institute, U.S.A.

Erica Ollmann Saphire, The Scripps Research Institute, U.S.A.

Gary Kobinger, National Microbiology Laboratory, Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)