Scotgen Ltd.'s humanized monoclonal antibody (MAb) againstrespiratory syncytial virus (RSV) works as well as its mouseequivalent in test tube and animal studies.

RSV is a major cause of serious lung disease, leading topneumonia and sometimes death, in young children. No vaccineis currently available, although scientists have developed amouse MAb that blocks RSV infection.

Aberdeen, Scotland-based Scotgen researchers developed ahumanized RSV MAb by placing mouse RSV binding sites into ahuman antibody framework. Humanized MAbs usually containless than 10 percent mouse sequences.

The rationale for developing humanized MAbs is that mouseMAbs can trigger an immune response that interferes withtheir ability to inactivate antigens. Total human MAbs aredifficult to produce in cell culture.

The Scotgen team, working with researchers from the AFRCInstitute for Animal Health in Newbury, United Kingdom, reportin Saturday's issue of The Lancet that the humanized RSV MAbsprevent mice from becoming infected with RSV if the MAbs areadministered prior to virus inoculation. Administration of RSVMAbs after viral infection has begun blocks spread of theinfection.

Other companies developing humanized MAbs include CelltechLtd. and Protein Design Labs Inc.

-- Carol Talkington Verser, Ph.D. Special to BioWorld

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