Posted on 23 July 2020
A cocktail of antibodies identified in Covid patients with severe disease could be mass produced to help treat and protect against the. These antibodies could be engineered to persist in the blood for up to 6 months.
In research published in Nature, Scientists at Columbia University identified 61 antibodies from five individuals that effectively wiped out . Nine of these displayed “exquisite potency” for neutralising the . These antibodies were able to protect hamsters against the disease and may be similarly effective in humans, as Professor David , who led the research, explains:
It shut off infectious virus completely in the lung tissue of the hamsters we treated. We specifically isolated very potent antibodies that can be mass produced and then administered. We would assume that these could be used to prevent or treat Sars-Cov-2. We’d be looking to treat early in the course of infection, particularly those at risk of developing severe disease such as the elderly and those with underlying illness.
In terms of prevention, these could certainly substitute for vaccines, and again we’d be looking at the most vulnerable, for example, nursing home residents.
are proteins produced by B cells during an infection. They are able to neutralise by binding to proteins on their surface, hindering their ability to invade human cells and helping white cells to recognise and destroy them. The most potent antibodies in this study targeted regions of the coronavirus spike protein.
Researchers hope to begin phase 1 human trials of a cocktail of these antibodies in October. Using a mix of different antibodies makes it much less likely that thewill evolve resistance to the treatment.
vaccine development continues apace, but there is still a lot of uncertainty over how effective they will be. Immunisation might not last very long and protection may only be partial, especially among the elderly. In this scenario, infusions of lab-grown antibodies would still be useful.
Potent neutralizing antibodies directed to multiple epitopes on SARS-CoV-2 spike: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2571-7
New antibody mix could form 'very potent' Covid-19 treatment, say scientists: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/jul/22/antibody-mix-trialled-as-potential-coronavirus-treatment