The unprecedented 2014-2015 Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa has highlighted the need for effective therapeutics against filoviruses. Monoclonal antibody (MAb) cocktails have shown great potential as EVD therapeutics; however, the existing protective MAbs are virus species specific. Here we report the development of pan-ebolavirus and pan-filovirus antibodies generated by repeated immunization of mice with filovirus glycoproteins engineered to drive the B cell responses toward conserved epitopes. Multiple pan-ebolavirus antibodies were identified that react to the Ebola, Sudan, Bundibugyo, and Reston viruses. A pan-filovirus antibody that was reactive to the receptor binding regions of all filovirus glycoproteins was also identified. Significant postexposure efficacy of several MAbs, including a novel antibody cocktail, was demonstrated. For the first time, we report cross-neutralization and in vivo protection against two highly divergent filovirus species, i.e., Ebola virus and Sudan virus, with a single antibody. Competition studies indicate that this antibody targets a previously unrecognized conserved neutralizing epitope that involves the glycan cap. Mechanistic studies indicated that, besides neutralization, innate immune cell effector functions may play a role in the antiviral activity of the antibodies. Our findings further suggest critical novel epitopes that can be utilized to design effective cocktails for broad protection against multiple filovirus species.
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