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LMB Seminar Series - Antibodies against Ebola and Lassa: A Global Collaboration

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The Ebolavirus genus includes several viruses that are highly pathogenic in humans and cause periodic episodes of lethal disease, including a currently persisting outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Lassa virus, an arenavirus, is endemic in West Africa and causes up to 300,00 infections annually with disease similar to that of the ebolaviruses. Both Lassa and the Ebolaviruses display a single trimeric glycoprotein, which is the primary target for protective antibody responses. Structural analyses of the glycoprotein in complex with protective antibodies from human survivors illuminates how an immune response ca be successful against these viruses and provides a roadmap for therapeutic interventions. A multidisciplinary, global collaboration bridging X-ray crystallography and cryoEM to field work in endemic sites in Africa led to the identification of unusual molecules of broader specificity and activity and the development of several therapeutic strategies where none existed before.

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