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The Potential Role of Passive Antibody-Based Therapies as Treatments for Monkeypox - ASM Journals

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  • The Potential Role of Passive Antibody-Based Therapies as Treatments for Monkeypox - ASM Journals

    31 October 2022


    Authors: Evan M. Bloch,, David J. Sullivan, ShmuelShoham, Aaron A. R. Tobian, Arturo Casadevall, Kelly A.Gebo


    Monkeypox, a zoonosis caused by the orthopox monkeypox virus (MPXV) that is endemic to Central and West Africa, was previously linked to sporadic outbreaks and rare, travel-associated cases. An outbreak of monkeypox in 2022 has spurred a public health emergency of international concern, and this outbreak is unprecedented in terms of its scale and epidemiology. The outbreak has been focused overwhelmingly in men who have sex with men; however, the trajectory of the outbreak remains uncertain, with spread now being reported in women and children. The mortality has been low (<1%), yet the morbidity is high. Vaccines and oral antiviral agents that have been developed to protect against smallpox are available for use against monkeypox. However, the supply has been unable to match the demand during the outbreak. Passive antibody-based therapies, such as hyperimmune globulin (HIG), monoclonal antibodies, and convalescent plasma (CP), have been used against a diverse array of infectious diseases, culminating in their extensive use during the COVID-19 pandemic. Passive antibody-based therapies could play a role in the treatment of monkeypox, either as a temporizing role amid a shortfall in vaccines and antivirals or a complementary role to direct-acting antivirals. Drawing on the collective experience to date, there are regulatory, administrative, and logistical challenges to the implementation of antibody-based therapies. Their efficacy is contingent upon early administration and the presence of high-titer antibodies against the targeted pathogen. Research is needed to address questions pertaining to how to qualify HIG and CP and to determine their relative efficacy against MPXV, compared to antecedent therapies and preventative strategies.