Thursday, September 10, 2020

Healthy Habits: Antibody Therapies: A Possible COVID-19 Solution?

In recent times, coronavirus has landed the scientific base of the entire world in a fix, and this has further created a worldwide urgency and havoc for an urgent search for treatment and prevention. Most of the attention is on the COVID vaccine being tested by several researchers, scholars, and scientists worldwide. They are looking for convalescent plasma infusions and new antiviral agents to develop a potential vaccine that can help the human race. 


Furthermore, drug companies and researchers are testing antibody therapies for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19. Even though some medicines have shown a significant promise, experts from the field say that such therapies might be unavailable until the next year. So, are antibody therapies a possible solution for this virus? Here's a rundown of what you should know.

What are antibody therapies?

Antibody therapies are a result of naturally utilizing antibodies generated by animals or humans. That is if they get infected with a virus or disease. But, for the coronavirus antibody therapies, treatments tend to rely on the isolated antibodies to eliminate the all-new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. Researchers and scientists, in recent times, have considered treatments surrounding convalescent plasma, developed out of people's plasma.  

As already discussed, such a situation occurs when someone gets infected, and then the plasma is transfused into patients suffering from COVID-19. Moreover, it behaves as the potential custom antibody made from the blood of newly-recovered patients. This further helps the treatment to neutralize the virus. During this submissive pandemic, several teams of researchers have been developing monoclonal antibodies. These antibodies can resort to isolation and can be manufactured in massive quantities through artificial reproduction.  

According to Reuters, these forms of antibody therapies are much easier when it comes to scaling. That is because, unlike convalescent plasma, such monoclonal antibodies usually don’t need blood enriched with a steady supply of antibodies. Besides, some teams of scientists have also considered utilizing monoclonal antibodies for prophylactic treatments, which can help in preventing infections from COVID-19 before it gets contracted.

Who is developing the therapies?

There are several questions like who is preparing, monitoring, and developing such antibody therapies. Several companies and teams are working every day to create such treatments that can potentially eliminate the virus.


For instance, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals started working on the development of COVID-19 antibodies in January. This process came into existence soon after they obtained the disease's genetic sequence. Researchers from the pharmaceuticals culled the antibodies from mice that were genetically modified. Moreover, they chose mice with human genes to develop the antibody cocktail. The VP of research, Christos Kyratsous, at Regeneron’s viral vector technologies, quoted that such an antibody mix can go through vital clinical trials in June. He further stated that this treatment would have a goal of developing multiple dosages of the antibody treatments.

Separately, the researchers from Vanderbilt University have obtained antibodies from around a dozen recovered people. They also found approximately forty antibodies that can have the potential to eliminate and neutralize the virus. Furthermore, a team of researchers is working closely with AstraZeneca and Cambridge University to make potential therapies. Some of these therapies are close to entering the period of clinical trials soon.

When will the therapies be ready?

Some of the studies suggest that antibody therapies can become an effective way of treating the virus. However, health experts said that this could take a while before treatments can enter the market. Meanwhile, the executive director, Jill Horowitz at Laboratory of Molecular Immunology, Rockefeller University's, quoted that present manufacturers might not adhere to the capacity of producing antibody therapies.

It is essential to know that antibodies are expensive. Especially when they get administered intravenously, this is a fact that can make it difficult for manufacturers to deliver and float on a significant scale. Moreover, low-income countries will face a tremendous challenge when the vaccine reaches the market through manufacturing companies. Even companies are doubtful if such countries would be able to afford such a treatment.

Final Thoughts

The antibody treatment types tend to determine when such treatments will become available for people. Clinical trials in the field of medications are typically faster than those trials that take place in prophylactic therapies. Since therapies are an urgent requirement, the governing bodies at the FDA can approve COVID-19 treatments a bit faster than the preventives. One should realize that the approvals for these antibody treatments are around six months or maybe more. Although these therapies surrounding antibodies might help neutralize the virus, some experts are skeptical about giving hope or communicating with the population. So, even if antibodies have a future amid this pandemic crisis, they have to enter clinical trials and then be developed and produced on a larger scale.

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