A team of lead researchers at the Scripps research has discovered powerful antibodies in recovered patients that might help us fight COVID-19. These antibodies have proven to be effective against the SARS-CoV-2 in both animal and human cell cultures, thereby potentially helping us combat the disease effectively. This discovery can set out new patterns of treating the new viral pandemic as therapies like these are becoming potential for treating the disease.
If this treatment becomes viable, this will also help health workers, patients, and other highly susceptible people who may suffer a lot of from the disease. Moreover, it can also temporarily act as a vaccine for people, which may help bring down the spread of the virus. While the need for the treatments and therapies to tackle the pandemic is on the rise, it is high time discoveries like this can be a key to solving our problems.
The project was led by Scripps Institute IAVI, a non-profit research organization in collaboration with the UC San Diego School of Medicine. At first, researchers from San Diego, CA, took blood samples from recovered patients who faced mild to severe cases of COVID-19. On the other hand, at IAVI, researchers produced cells that express ACE2 receptors that act as an entry point of the virus. In addition, they wanted to check whether these cells can be protected from the virus by using the antibodies from blood obtained from recovered patients.
In this process, the scientists were able to isolate 1000 distinct B-cells having antibody activity against SARS-CoV-2. After isolating, they obtained the gene sequences of cells to produce them artificially in a laboratory environment. Moreover, the team also found that even tiny amounts of antibodies are enough to tackle the virus. All this breakthrough and studies including cell development were done in a record period of seven weeks. From now on, if further trials go well, the team hopes this therapy will be soon available to patients to tackle the disease as early as January next year. One of the experts says this would be mostly available for the neediest in middle and low-income countries.
These can also be manufactured on a mass scale using biotechnology and can help us prevent the disease for a temporary period like vaccines. This is already practiced in outbreaks in Ebola and therefore it a not something new. With scientists also being able to neutralize SARS-CoV with the same antibodies, this research can be manipulated to protect in multiple viruses in the future.
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