This came up on a “liberal” news source just recently:
Monoclonal antibodies (mAb or moAb) are monospecific antibodies that are the same because they are made by identical immune cells that are all clones of a unique parent cell, in contrast to polyclonal antibodies which are made from several different immune cells. Monoclonal antibodies have monovalent affinity, in that they bind to the same epitope.
Given almost any substance, it is possible to produce monoclonal antibodies that specifically bind to that substance; they can then serve to detect or purify that substance. This has become an important tool in biochemistry, molecular biology and medicine. When used as medications, the non-proprietary drug name ends in -mab (see “Nomenclature of monoclonal antibodies“), and many immunotherapy specialists use the word mab anacronymically.
What happened earlier this year was that there was a new, and also the most severe, outbreak of Ebola in West Africa.
An epidemic of the Ebola virus disease is ongoing in several West African countries. The outbreak first began in Guinea in March 2014. Since its initial outbreak, the virus has spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria. The outbreak is the most severe of its kind in recorded history in regard to both the number of human cases and fatalities. A total of 1711 suspected cases with 932 deaths have been reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) as of 4 August 2014, of which 1070 cases and 603 deaths have been laboratory confirmed to be Ebola.
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One American traveling in the region became infected and died. Two Americans working to treat patients and to contain the epidemic became infected. These may have gotten a reprieve:
An experimental serum given to Christian aid workers infected with the deadly Ebola virus was manufactured by a San Diego pharmaceutical firm using plants, the company and U.S. health authorities disclosed Monday.
As Dr. Kent Brantly fights for his life in a special containment unit at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, and missionary Nancy Writebol prepares to be evacuated from Liberia on Tuesday, details began to emerge about a mysterious treatment they were given shortly after they became infected.
On “liberal left leaning” CNN this morning a scientist explained the concept behind monoclonal antibodies. I don’t have that interview, but I do have this from Wikipedia:
Monoclonal antibodies are typically made by fusing myeloma cells with the spleen cells from a mouse that has been immunized with the desired antigen. However, recent advances have allowed the use of rabbit B-cells to form a rabbit hybridoma. Polyethylene glycol is used to fuse adjacent plasma membranes, but the success rate is low so a selective medium in which only fused cells can grow is used. This is possible because myeloma cells have lost the ability to synthesize hypoxanthine-guanine-phosphoribosyl transferase (HGPRT), an enzyme necessary for the salvage synthesis of nucleic acids. The absence of HGPRT is not a problem for these cells unless the de novo purine synthesis pathway is also disrupted. By exposing cells to aminopterin (a folic acid analogue, which inhibits dihydrofolate reductase, DHFR), they are unable to use the de novo pathway and become fully auxotrophic for nucleic acids requiring supplementation to survive.
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The antibodies bind to features on the virus that facilitate the virus’ entry into a living cell. This blocks the virus from entering the cell. A virus cannot reproduce itself. It uses the cell’s replication mechanism to make new copies of itself.
The particular mAB used to treat the American patients was, in fact, produced inside a tobacco plant. The plant was immersed in water loaded with the virus, causing the virus to infect the plant. The plant then produced the antibodies, which were extracted from the tobacco leaves.
If you’re like me, you are by now saying, “This is really neat stuff.” Also, if you’re like me by now you’re saying, “How come none of this is mentioned in the Bible?” Creationists (and many devout Christians) tell me I should look for answers in the Bible. I have seen statements in the past that the Bible is the only book we need. I have heard that all usable knowledge comes from the Bible. Creationist Ken Ham comes close to this:
And I do believe there can’t be other intelligent beings in outer space because of the meaning of the gospel. You see, the Bible makes it clear that Adam’s sin affected the whole universe. This means that any aliens would also be affected by Adam’s sin, but because they are not Adam’s descendants, they can’t have salvation. One day, the whole universe will be judged by fire, and there will be a new heavens and earth. God’s Son stepped into history to be Jesus Christ, the “Godman,” to be our relative, and to be the perfect sacrifice for sin—the Savior of mankind.
Apparently that only works so far. I notice a number of things not included in the Bible:
- The Earth goes around the Sun.
- The Moon goes around the Earth.
- The Earth is round.
- Other continents exist on the opposite side of the Earth, and they host advanced civilizations.
- Water is composed of oxygen and hyrdogen.
- The square root of 2 is an irrational number.
I have a copy of the Bible, and I keep it on a book shelf in my computer room, between a book on numerical recipes and one on network programming. If I need some basic stuff, I look to the left. If I need something advanced I look to the right. The other book is there for contrast.