Health Care

Possible COVID-19 Breakthrough as Antibody that 'Neutralizes' Virus Discovered

The antibody component, which is 10 times smaller than a full-sized antibody, has been used to create the drug Ab8

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine made a possible COVID-19 breakthrough. The scientists have isolated “the smallest biological molecule” that “completely and specifically neutralizes” the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.

Newly-created drug has been “highly effective in preventing and treating” COVID-19

The researchers’ report states that the antibody component, which is 10 times smaller than a full-sized antibody, has been used to create the drug Ab8 which is considered as a potential preventative against SARS-CoV-2.

The report also claims that the newly-created drug has been “highly effective in preventing and treating” SARS-CoV-2 infections in mice and hamsters, and doesn’t bind to human cells, suggesting that it won’t cause negative side effects in people.

According to the co-author and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Pitt and UPMC John Mellors, “Ab8 not only has potential as therapy for COVID-19, but it also could be used to keep people from getting SARS-CoV-2 infections.” 

“Antibodies of larger size have worked against other infectious diseases and have been well tolerated, giving us hope that it could be an effective treatment for patients with COVID-19 and for protection of those who have never had the infection and are not immune.”

Currently, scientists are thinking of drug administration, suggesting that it might be inhaled or through a superficial injection, instead of an IV.

The team at the University of Texas Medical Branch Center for Biodefense and Emerging Diseases and Galveston National Laboratory reported they have tested Ab8 and found it blocked the virus from entering cells. 

In trials with mice, the ones treated with Ab8 had 10-fold less of the amount of infectious virus compared to those that were untreated.

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