Researchers report initial success in development of Junin Virus Antibody

Researchers report initial success in development of Junin Virus Antibody

Researchers are progressing towards their aim to develop a drug for the treatment of Argentine hemorrhagic fever, which is caused by Junin virus. The disease is a potentially fatal one, with the virus being part of the list of the US government for potential bio-terror weapons. The outcomes of this new drug that is in its early stages of development are based on its experiment on guinea pigs in lab. However, it is still ambiguous as to when the drug will be experimented on human level.

The scientists revealed that the experimental treatment involves transfusion of plasma from a person who has battled and lived after suffering from this disease. According to the lead researchers of the study, Dr. Larry Zeitlin, the President of the San Diego-based Mapp Biopharmaceutical, such transfusions are successful. However, in case of an epidemic, the supply of the treatment will possibly be much lower than its demand.

This virus is found in Argentina’s rural areas. Particular rodents are responsible for transmitting this virus and humans get contracted through contaminated droppings, urine or saliva, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Junin virus causes infection in 10-15 people annually in Argentina, revealed a scientist with Argentina's National Laboratories and Health Institutes Administration, Dr. Delia Enria. The most common symptoms are high fever, dizziness and fatigue, while few may experience internal bleeding and neurological complexities.

The experimental drug developed for this virus has been named J199 and is a monoclonal antibody, which are developed specifically in laboratory for handling a particular target, such as a cancer cell or virus. J199 was extracted from mice, which were exposed to a primary Junin protein, and was then modified genetically to transform it into a human antibody, according to the scientists.