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New Lead Against West Nile

West Nile Virus graphic with caudecus and mosquito
AP / CBS
Mosquito season is just around the corner in the U.S., and scientists may have a new lead against West Nile virus infection.

An experimental new treatment based on human infection-fighting antibodies may help fight the virus.

"To our knowledge, these experiments are the first successful demonstration of the use of humanized antibody as a post-infection therapy against a viral disease," says researcher Michael Diamond, MD, PhD, in a news release.

"We could give this antibody to mice as long as five days after infection, when West Nile virus had entered the brain, and it could still cure them," says Diamond in a news release.

Diamond's study appears in the online edition of Nature Medicine.

Fighting Back Against West Nile

A lab-made version of a critical antibody protected infected mice. However, the researchers say more studies are needed before it can be tested in people.

In 2004, 2,470 mild and severe human cases of West Nile virus infection and 88 related deaths were reported to the CDC.