A human antibody given to monkeys infected with the Hendra virus protected them from disease, according to a published study by the National Institutes of Health, including the Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton.
Hendra virus was first seen in Australia in horses in 1994, and can be spread from horses to humans, according to an NIH News Release. No person-to-person transmission has been reported.
The virus causes disease in the lungs and brain, with human fatality rates of 60 percent. The antibody, named m102.4, may be developed into a possible treatment for humans.
The diseases in monkeys are the same as what happens in humans, investigators found.
The antibody trials were conducted in Hamilton Montana's new biosafety level-4 lab, a maximum containment facility at the Rocky Mountain Labs campus.
The virus is spread by fruit bats, also known as flying foxes, which are found in Australia mainly, but are also found in Africa, India and the Philippines.
Additional studies on m102.4 as a preventive vaccine are planned.