Dr Anthony Fauci, US top infectious disease expert along with other researchers believe that monoclonal antibodies will prove effective against the virus. He believes that the antibody will prove to be a sure bet against the SARS COV-2 virus. As the monoclonal bioreactor vats are copies of the naturally occurring proteins.
The world has been waiting for a COVID-19 vaccine for months now. Even though a lot of remedies and vaccines are in the testing phase, experts believe that monoclonal antibodies can act as a “bridge drug“. It will safely protect us from Coronavirus pandemic until a vaccine is available for wide dissemination.
After 675,000 people lost their lives globally due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Drugmakers believe that the monoclonal antibody or a combination can alter the course of the disease.
Scientists are still figuring out the role of antibodies. “Antibodies can block infectivity. That is a fact, Chritos Kyratsous, executive of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals said.
A two-antibody cocktail has been put to test by Regeneron, as it will limit the ability of the virus to escape. The reports on the efficiency of this cocktail drug is expected by fall. “Protection will wane over time. Dosing is something we don’t know yet”, said Kyratsous.
After the regulators approve the treatment, Regeneron will begin production of the drug. The US government awarded the company a contract of $450 million in June. There is a debate if a single antibody will be effective against the COVID-19.
The impact of infused antibodies dissipates over time whereas vaccines activate the body’s own immune system.
The antibody will act as a therapeutic bridge to prevent infection in at-risk people like the elderly and the medical staff. “In a prophylactic setting we think we may achieve coverage for up to six months”, said Phil Pang, chief medical officer at Vir Biotechnology. The firm aims at starting the test of antibodies next month in non-hospitalized patients with partner GSK.
Even though the safety risks are quite low for monoclonal antibodies, their cost can be as high as $100,000 a year. The other concern being, the Coronavirus can become resistant to certain specific antibodies. Researchers are now working on second-generation compounds with targets, different from the crown-like spikes Coronavirus uses to invade cells.
“We are trying to develop something complimentary”, said Amgen research chief David Reese. Amgen is working with Adaptive Biotechnologies Corp.
In a recent paper published in the journal Nature, researchers have said that they discovered antibodies. It directs to an area where the virus gets attached in the cells and to the region of the spike that has not attracted attention.
“To avoid the development of resistance you want to target different sites”, said David. He is the study author and also a professor at Columbia University.
There is also a question about the right time to use the antibodies. “Giving an antibody later on after infection might not be helpful, given early, they probably will work”, said Florian Krammer, a microbiology professor at Icahn School of Medicine at New York.