While scientists are racing towards finding an effective vaccine against COVID-19 infection, researchers have also made advancements in the development of manufactured antibodies designed especially to attack Coronavirus.
Leading scientists have endorsed the development of monoclonal antibodies to fight COVID-19 infection. Anthony Fauci, Director at the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has supported the idea of treating COVID-19 with manufactured antibodies as well.
Antibodies are naturally occurring proteins that are produced primarily by plasma cells. They are triggered when a pathogen invades a body. The antibodies identify and destroy the pathogen, stopping the pathogen from causing further damage.
Monoclonal antibodies or manufactured antibodies are copies of the naturally occurring antibodies. They are manufactured in bioreactor vats. Monoclonal antibodies have previously been used to treat a number of diseases including cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis.
Although scientists are working to ascertain the exact role of manufactured antibodies in the treatment of Coronavirus, pharmaceutical companies are optimistic that monoclonal antibodies or a combination of them can change the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, a New York-based biotechnology company, is currently testing a two-antibody cocktail. Sources claim that the cocktail limits the ability of Coronavirus to replicate within the body. However, Regeneron will formally publish the results of the two-antibody cocktail next month.
In June, the Trump administration had awarded Regeneron a supply contract worth $450 million. Regeneron will immediately start the production of its treatment after receiving assent from the regulators once it publishes the results of the two-antibody cocktail in September.
While a vaccine triggers the body’s own immune response, the effect of injected antibodies diminishes over time though they provide instant immunity against any infection.
Nonetheless, monoclonal antibodies will accord vulnerable people such as elderly and healthcare workers temporary protection until an effective Coronavirus vaccine becomes widely available.