Dutch Armed Forces/Royal Dutch Navy, Netherlands
Title: Novel technologies and innovations for prevention and treatment of “Infectious diseases” including EBOLA
Biography: Stef Stienstra
Introduction: It is impossible to protect whole nations from the effects of bioterrorism by preventive vaccination. There are too many possible agents, the costs would be exorbitantly high, and the health risks associated with complex mass vaccination programs would be unacceptable for the public health authorities. Adequate protection, however, could be provided via a combination of rapid detection and diagnosis with proper treatment for those exposed to biological weapon agents. Preferably this should be done with therapeutics, which would be beneficial in all stages of infection to disease.
Methodology: Immunoglobulins and/or monoclonal antibodies, preferably from human origin, can be used to prevent severe complications by neutralizing or blocking the pathological elements of biological agents and these are the optimal candidates to be deployed in case of biological warfare or a bioterrorist event. Also for natural outbreaks, like the recent and still ongoing Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa, the use of human antibodies against the virus have shown to be effective. These antibodies were givens as immunoglobulin obtained from the plasma from survivors of the EVD or as isolated antibodies from human EBV survivors, which are multiplied in human cell culture processes.
Discussion: As an example of the latter technology recent research in aerosol challenged rabbits has shown that the application of a combination of a human monoclonal antibody against the protective antigen (PA) and one against the lethal factor (LF) of the anthrax toxin is highly efficacious even when given 48 hours after the exposure of animals to anthrax spores.
Conclusion: Having an effective diagnostic system and an effective therapy, one can choose therapy above vaccination for biological threats, which have a low prevalence.