Scientists try to grow antibodies to coronavirus in the laboratory

In the absence of a vaccine, treatment of COVID-19 with antibodies is considered a promising technique

WASHINGTON – Doctors are trying to grow the human body’s most powerful disease-fighting drug in vitro to be used to treat COVID-19.

Monoclonal antibody therapy can serve as a medicine for patients infected with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, as well as a tool for infection prevention for frontline doctors and other people at high risk.

At least six companies plan to test antibodies in coronavirus patients this summer.

Monoclonal antibodies have proven to be effective against diseases such as cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. New treatment for Ebola is being studied by the Federal Food and Drug Administration.

Antibodies have advantages over conventional drugs, making them a priority among emerging treatments for COVID-19.

In particular, thanks to technologies developed over the past 10-15 years, they can be produced relatively quickly..

“The entire process from taking a blood sample to obtaining antibodies ready for clinical trials took about three months,” says Laura Walker, director of antibody research at biotech company Adimab..

Although safety checks are just beginning, Walker says antibody treatments are generally quite safe..

“Everyone makes antibodies naturally,” she notes..

And because they are based on a well-researched part of the body’s defense system, Walker adds, “the chances that monoclonal antibodies will be effective are quite high.”.

Antibodies are a key element of the immune system. They attach to the invading pathogen, which, in the case of viruses, prevents it from entering the cell and causing infection..

Vaccines trigger the same response.Scientists try to grow antibodies to coronavirus in the laboratory But since there is no vaccine for COVID-19, “we skip the vaccination phase and manufacture these antibodies directly,” says Joe Jardine of IAVI, a nonprofit research organization..

Most antibodies come from people who have had COVID-19.Scientists try to grow antibodies to coronavirus in the laboratory Their blood is full of these antibodies, and so doctors are trying to figure out if blood plasma transfusions from those who have recovered can help treat or prevent infection..

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