Using high titer West Nile intravenous immunoglobulin from selected Israeli donors for treatment of West Nile virus infection Academic Article uri icon


  • West Nile Virus (WNV) is endemic in Israel and a significant level of antibodies is present in the population due to natural exposure. Anecdotal cases suggested that the presence of anti-WNV antibodies in intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) from Israeli donors (IVIG-IL) assisted the recovery of patients with severe WNV infection. To enhance the therapeutic efficacy of IVIG-IL against WNV infection, OMRIX Biopharmaceuticals, Israel, have developed a strategy for selection of plasma units from a 10% fraction of Israeli blood donors with anti-WNV antibodies. Positive units were processed into pharmaceutical grade WNV IVIG (WNIG). Following inoculation with WNV, mice received i.p. injections of different doses (0.01-8 mg/mouse) of IVIG-IL or WNIG, according to the specific experimental protocol. WNIG was about 10 times more potent (per gr of IgG) than was regular IVIG-IL when tested by ELISA and neutralization assays. In a mouse lethal WNV infection model, prophylactic treatment with WNIG was at least 5-10-fold more potent as compared to treatment with IVIG-IL. Treatment with WNIG during active encephalitis, three or four days following WNV infection, had a significant protective effect. WNIG was also very effective in protecting immunosuppressed mice. Indeed, treatment of dexamethasone-immunosuppressed mice with 0.2 or 1.0 mg WNIG 4 h after virus infection, led to 100% survival. IVIG produced from selected plasma donated in WNV endemic regions can be used to produce WNV IVIG with superior activity for therapeutic and prophylactic measures.

publication date

  • January 1, 2009