A report in early May said some revolutionary new coronavirus drugs could be ready this summer, according tomedia reports, referring to monoclonal antibody therapies being developed by several pharmaceutical companies. These drugs are drugs that combine chemicals that prevent virus replication. This is actually what the immune system does when it finds new pathogens. It creates special antibodies that can fight this particular infection and provide immunity against future infections. This is actually the role of vaccines. It “trains” the body to produce the right antibodies early on, and then prevents infection. That’s why monoclonal antibodies are so desirable — they can provide short-term immunity to patients and treat those who can’t fight the virus on their own.
Since May, we have seen a number of companies involved in the development of monoclonal antibody drugs announce clinical trials, and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals is the latest company to advance human trials. The company will conduct four separate trials aimed at studying the effectiveness and safety of monoclonal therapy in the treatment of COVID-19 cases and the prevention of infection.
REGN-COV2 is a combination of two antibodies that should block the virus’s S protein in two different locations. The key to treatment is not just to improve the patient’s condition, to provide temporary immunity, but to fight antibodies at the same time, to prevent the virus mutation, “escape” treatment.
“We have created a unique combination of antiviral antibody drugs that can prevent and treat infections and pre-empt the virus’s ‘escape’, which is an important preventive measure in the context of the continued global epidemic,” George D. Yancopoulos, President and Chief Scientific Officer of Regeneron, said in a statement.
“REGN-COV2 can have a significant impact on public health by slowing the spread of the virus and providing those who are already sick and providing the treatment they need — and can be available earlier than vaccines.” Antibody drug combinations may also have long-term effects in older and less immune patients, as they often do not respond well to vaccines. Ultimately, the world needs multiple solutions to COVID-19, and the innovative biopharmaceutical industry is working collectively to help as many people as possible in a variety of complementary ways. “
Regeneron also announced two studies showing that REGN-COV2 blocks the mutated version of the coronavirus, but based on laboratory work prior to the study. Monoclonal antibody drugs containing more than one effective antibody are more likely to prevent the virus from escaping from mutation, the company said.
Virus escape refers to the ability of spontaneous viral mutants to “escape” or to escape treatment under the pressure of antiviral therapy. These mutants are “selected” (i.e. can survive and multiply with a single treatment) and eventually become the dominant strain of the virus. The company says it has studied thousands of completely human antibodies, which were studied in its own Velocimmune mice. These are genetically modified rodents with a human immune system. Regeneron also analyzed human antibodies from COVID-19 survivors. Two of the most effective drugs are selected and combined into one drug.
Regeneron says it uses the same “rapid response” capabilities and drug combinations to develop REGN-EB3. It is a triple antibody treatment for the Ebola virus and is currently under regulatory review by the FDA. CNN noted that the Ebola treatment worked so well that clinical trials were halted early in August 2019. The drug is better at saving lives than any other treatment, and the FDA will make a decision by October.
The first two trials of Regeneron’s new coronavirus drug will look at whether REGN-COV2 can be used as a treatment for inpatients and non-inpatients. The pharmaceutical company will then conduct drug studies on uninfected persons in high-risk exposure groups and those in close contact with PATIENTs with COVID-19.