University of Queensland's Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) will produce antibodies for the animal virus Hendra under an accord with Queensland Health and an American foundation.

UQ announced Wednesday it has granted $300,000 to AIBN to produce monoclonal antibodies developed in Washington D.C. with collaboration from CSIRO's Australian Animal Health Laboratory.

AIBN director, Professor Peter Gray, said monoclonal antibodies had shown great promise in treating human diseases including arthritis and tumors associated with breast and colon cancer.

The Biologics Facility will host the Hendra production that will fall under the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy and includes a substantial financial commitment from the Queensland and Federal governments, said Gray.

The Hendra virus emerged in the Brisbane suburb of the same name in 1994. To date, seven people have been infected with four dying making it one of the rarest but dangerous diseases in the world.

Infection among horses is more than 70 percent fatal. The virus is passed to humans by close contact with bodily fluids of infected horses. There are no cases of human-to-human transmission.