Scanning electron microscopic image of Ebola virus. Image via Wikimedia Commons
Scanning electron microscopic image of Ebola virus. Image via Wikimedia Commons

San Diego-based Mapp Biopharmaceutical on Monday identified the drug used to treat two Americans with Ebola as “ZMapp” and said it is working with commercial and government partners to quickly increase production.

“We are in the midst of an intense effort to help address the Ebola outbreak in West Africa,” said Mapp’s president, Larry Zeitlin, in an email message to Times of San Diego.

CNN reported that doses of the drug were flown to Africa last week and apparently saved the lives of two American stricken with the deadly virus.

Mapp said in a statement that ZMapp is composed of three “humanized” monoclonal antibodies manufactured in plants, specifically Nicotiana. It is an optimized cocktail combining the best components from Mapp’s MB-003 and ZMab developed in Canada.

The drug is a collaboration of  between Mapp, LeafBio in San Diego, Defyrus in Toronto, the U.S. government and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

“ZMapp was first identified as a drug candidate in January 2014 and has not yet been evaluated for safety in humans. As such, very little of the drug is currently available,” the company noted. “Mapp and its partners are cooperating with appropriate government agencies to increase production as quickly as possible.”

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.