http://www.physorg.com/news102680591.html

Human antibodies that block human and animal SARS viruses identified
An international team of investigators has identified the first human antibodies that can neutralize different strains of the virus responsible for outbreaks of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

The researchers used a mouse model and in vitro assays (lab tests) to test the neutralizing activity of the antibodies. The research team was led by scientists from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), both parts of the National Institutes of Health, and included collaborators from the U.S. Army (USAMRIID), academic institutions in the United States, Switzerland, and Australia. The research findings appear after the July 2, 2007, early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

SARS outbreaks occurred in humans in 2002-2003 and again in 2003-2004, and each outbreak was thought to have occurred when the virus jumped from an animal host to humans. Therefore, it appears that animal strains of the virus may be capable of triggering a future human outbreak.

“This study is important because the viral strain that caused the outbreak in people in 2002 probably no longer exists in nature,” explains Kanta Subbarao, M.D., NIAID, whose laboratory verified the efficacy of the anti-SARS antibodies in animal models. “What we need to prove for any vaccine, therapeutic, antibody, or drug is that it is effective not only against the strain of SARS virus isolated from people, but also against a variety of animal strains, because animals will be a likely source for re-emergence of the SARS virus.”