US orders 3 state-of-the-art labs to ramp up Ebola drug ZMapp production
- The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) has reached out to three advanced biology labs for detailed production plans for ZMapp—a cocktail of three humanized monoclonal antibodies to the Ebola virus.
- ZMapp was given to two American medical workers who were infected with the Ebola virus in Liberia, and they subsequently recovered; however, Mapp Biopharmaceutical, based in San Diego, said that supply ran out in August after available doses were given to doctors in West Africa.
- Amgen is also helping ramp up supply by using mammalian cells, rather than tobacco plants to create production lines. Tobacco plants were used to produce previous doses of ZMapp.
The U.S. government is at the heart of the effort to fund and fight the Ebola virus. In this situation, the government established these three high-output labs—the Centers for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing—in 2012 with $440 million in seed money.
The labs' primary mission is to produce countermeasures against chemical, biological, and other threats. Two years since their creation, their existence is being validated in a big way with the American government's production plan order.