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J Infect Dis. 2003 Jul 1;188(1):5-12. Epub 2003 Jun 23.

Prophylactic and therapeutic efficacy of human intravenous immunoglobulin in treating West Nile virus infection in mice.

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Department of Infectious Diseases, Israel Institute for Biological Research, Ness-Ziona, Israel.


West Nile virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne disease found most commonly in Africa, West Asia, and the Middle East, where up to 40% of the human population possesses antibodies. It is an emerging disease in the United States. Humans infected with WNV develop a febrile illness that can progress to meningitis or encephalitis. In mice, WNV causes central nervous system infection, paralysis, encephalitis, and death. Currently, no specific therapy or vaccine has been approved for human use. We examined the prophylactic and therapeutic efficacy of pooled human plasma (PP) and intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) for treatment of WNV-infected mice. Full protection was achieved when the infected mice were treated with pooled plasma or IVIG obtained from healthy Israeli blood donors that contained WNV-specific antibodies. Similar treatments using PP or IVIG obtained from US blood donors had no protective effect. Recovery of the lethally infected mice was dependent on the dose and time of IVIG administration. These results indicate that antibodies play a major role in protection and recovery from WNV infection and that IVIG can be used as first-line therapy.

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