Dr. Xiangguo Qiu and Dr. Gary Kobinger discovered a treatment for the deadly Ebola virus and were awarded the 2018 Governor General’s Innovation Award for their accomplishments.
At the Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, Dr. Qiu and Dr. Gary Kobinger, studied antibodies that had already been tested and found ineffective in other studies. Despite facing criticism, Dr. Qiu and Dr. Kobinger were finally able to prove their theory and cure patients during the West Africa Ebola outbreak.
Dr. Xiangguo Qiu and Dr. Gary Kobinger combined three antibodies to fight the Ebola virus and the treatment was developed into a drug called ZMapp. In 2014, the treatment was given to 28 patients with the infection and 25 of them made a complete recovery. In addition to Ebola, ZMapp is now formulating similar research against other infectious diseases like HIV.
“So many labs are developing antibody therapies for other diseases,” Dr. Qiu says. “I’m very happy. It’s not just that we found a cure for Ebola, but our work is having an impact on the whole scientific community. It has become a blueprint for treating those other infectious diseases.”