Treating new diseases like COVID-19 poses a major problem as doctors have to rely on existing drugs to reduce symptoms, enhance the immune system’s responsiveness and prevent complications,media BGR reported. Everyone wants the body to produce effective antibodies that eventually kill the virus. That’s why doctors are experimenting with drugs commonly used to treat everything from HIV and malaria to heart disease to erectile dysfunction. A drug used to treat Ebola has also shown hope, but there is no universal treatment to deal with the new type of coronavirus infection.
In the near future, however, that may change, as researchers in China have identified antibodies that produce an “extremely effective” response that prevent SARS-CoV-2 from entering the cells. These antibodies may be used in the future to make drugs designed to treat COVID-19.
A recent study showed that the immune system is starting to fight new infections just as it is against the flu. This is not to say that COVID-19 is like the flu, but the body’s ability to resist pathogens is triggered similarly. Scientists said at the time that the study was effective in cases of mild secondary disease because they did not yet understand why certain categories of patients were unable to fight the virus in a similar way.
Some countries have launched pilot schemes to rely on treatment sedatives for old-fashioned infectious diseases. Blood was collected from survivors, red blood cells were removed and plasma was administered to PATIENTs with COVID-19. Antibodies in the plasma are thought to activate the receptor’s immune system and accelerate recovery.
Using the same treatment principle, scientists from China were able to isolate antibodies that produce the strongest response to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Researchers already know how the new coronavirus attaches itself to cells to penetrate it, and then “takes over those tiny chemical plants” to replicate itself. By blocking entry into cells, antibodies will be able to reduce the virus’s destructive ability.
Zhang Linyi of Tsinghua University and a team of scientists from shenzhen’s Third People’s Hospital began analyzing antibodies from PATIENTs with COVID-19. They isolated 206 monoclonal antibodies that showed a “powerful” ability to bind to viral proteins. Zhang told Reuters that they tested more than 20 antibodies, four of which blocked the virus from entering the cells. Two antibodies proved to be “very good.”
The researchers’ next step involves identifying the most effective antibodies and then combining them to mitigate the risk of mutations in new drugs. The team is working with the biotech company Brii Biosciences to “promote multiple drug candidates for prevention and treatment interventions.” Reuters explained that these antibodies are not vaccines, but can be used like a vaccine. Antibody-based drugs can be used by high-risk patients and health care professionals to prevent COVID-19.
Even so, antibody-based therapies, in the best cases, can still take months to reach clinical trials. Approval of the new drug may take longer. In addition, other companies are already testing vaccines against the new coronavirus. Two candidate vaccines are being tested in the United States and China, and several others are being prepared for human testing.