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Health alert: Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

Hendra treatment trial finishes with success

5 February 2020

A clinical safety trial has successfully tested the safety and tolerability of the Hendra virus monoclonal antibody m102.4 treatment on 40 human volunteers.

Princess Alexandra Hospital Infectious Diseases Consultant and trial coordinator, Professor Geoffrey Playford, said treatment was well tolerated in healthy volunteers.

“m102.4 has the potential to prevent disease in a person exposed to Hendra virus following contact with an infected horse and is the most promising therapeutic opportunity to date for addressing this unmet medical need,” Prof Playford said.

“The findings of this study show the safety of m102.4 and will inform future treatment to achieve effective protection against the Hendra virus.”

Hendra virus was identified in 1994 in the Brisbane suburb of Hendra. Since then there have been seven confirmed cases of Hendra virus infection in humans resulting in four deaths.

The results of the trial mean Queensland is one step closer to protecting those at high risk of developing potentially fatal disease from Hendra virus infection following contact with an infected horse.

“Future studies will be needed to confirm the effectiveness of m102.4 for treatment and protection against different strains of the Hendra virus, particularly among populations living in settings where there is the potential for an outbreak,” Prof Playford said.

“The recommendation is to vaccinate horses as the first step to control this virus which is the best way to limit potential human transmission.”

The human monoclonal antibody m102.4 was originally developed by Professor Chris Broder and his team at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) and the National Institutes of Health.

The antibody has been available in Queensland since 2010, shared by USU and the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine (HJF) for the treatment of Hendra virus infection in people. Since then, it has been used on compassionate grounds in 13 people in Queensland who were exposed to horses with Hendra virus.

The result of the trial, which was funded by Queensland Health, the National Health and Medical Research Council, and the National Hendra Virus Research Program, conducted by Professor Geoffrey Playford at the early phase Q-Pharm Pty Limited trial facility, was published in The Lancet Infectious Disease journal.

Last updated 5 February 2020
Last reviewed 5 February 2020

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