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Human-Like Neutralizing Antibodies Protect Mice from Aerosol Exposure with Western Equine Encephalitis Virus

Burke, Crystal W.; Froude, Jeffrey W.; Miethe, Sebastian; Hülseweh, Birgit; Hust, Michael ORCID; Glass, Pamela J.

Western equine encephalitis virus (WEEV) causes symptoms in humans ranging from mild febrile illness to life-threatening encephalitis, and no human medical countermeasures are licensed. A previous study demonstrated that immune serum from vaccinated mice protected against lethal WEEV infection, suggesting the utility of antibodies for pre- and post-exposure treatment. Here, three neutralizing and one binding human-like monoclonal antibodies were evaluated against WEEV aerosol challenge. Dose-dependent protection was observed with two antibodies administered individually, ToR69-3A2 and ToR68-2C3. In vitro neutralization was not a critical factor for protection in this murine model, as ToR69-3A2 is a strong neutralizing antibody, and ToR68-2C3 is a non-neutralizing antibody. This result highlights the importance of both neutralizing and non-neutralizing antibodies in the protection of mice from WEEV lethality.

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