Johns Hopkins Contributed to Experimental Ebola Drug

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Back in August, the Ebola epidemic was spreading out of control, a few infected health care workers were given an experimental treatment that many hoped would prove to be the cure for the deadly virus.

That experimental drug, ZMapp, was created by Mapp Biopharmaceutical, a drug company founded by two men who started out conducting research at Johns Hopkins back in the 1980s, when they worked in the lab of Hopkins biophysicist Richard Cone.

A Hopkins Hub story explains how that biochemical research into plantibodies led, through various twists and turns, to the potential Ebola treatment. It’s an engaging story of innovation and experimentation, and one that may have far-reaching implications for other deadly viruses, including HIV.

“ZMapp is not really the story. The real story is about antibodies and how diverse they are. ZMapp shows the power of antibody-based technology, and that’s the exciting thing to us. They work; they are effective,” Kevin Whaley, Mapp’s CEO, told the Hub. “So now can we produce antibodies at a low enough cost and at a large enough capacity so that it plays a role in global health?”

It’s just one of many ways that Hopkins and Hopkins-trained researchers are contributing to the fight against Ebola.

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