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Discovery could lead to neutralizing West Nile virus

by Dec. 7, 2018, 9:41 AM

Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and colleagues have isolated a human monoclonal antibody that can “neutralize” the West Nile virus and potentially prevent a leading cause of viral encephalitis (brain inflammation) in the United States.

Their findings, reported last week in the journal Nature Microbiology, could lead to the first effective treatment for this mosquito-transmitted infection, which sickens 2,500 and kills more than 100 people throughout the country each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC).

“West Nile virus is still an important cause of brain infections in the U.S., and there is very little we can do to help these patients,” said James Crowe Jr., MD, co-corresponding author of the paper and director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center.

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