The continued search for a treatment and a vaccine against and to prevent COVID-19 forges forward.
Researchers from Vanderbilt University Medical Center have received positive results from a preclinical study on antibodies. This could help lead to the development of a treatment to prevent or treat COVID-19.
The study was published in Nature on Wednesday.
A race against time
As the coronavirus still spreads across the world impacting vast amounts of communities, the development of a vaccine and a treatment to help prevent and treat COVID-19 is at the forefront of many a scientist's mind.
So it's fantastic news that the team at Vanderbilt University Medical Center may be one step closer to discovering an antibody treatment or therapy.
The team took monoclonal antibodies — antibodies that are made from identical immune cells and that are clones of a single parent cell — from a couple from Wuhan, China (the widely-accepted epicenter of the virus) who had been diagnosed with COVID-19 after a trip to Toronto, Canada.
The two were some of the earliest identified confirmed cases in North America.
The team used an ultra-fast method they've been working on over the past two years that is able to discover highly potent antiviral human monoclonal antibodies and determine their potential to protect small animals and non-human primates, all in under three months.
The team was able to isolate hundreds of human monoclonal antibodies that fight against the protein that enables SARS-CoV-2. Essentially, against the virus that causes COVID-19 and infects human lungs.
Their results "are promising candidates for prevention or treatment of COVID-19," as per the study.
One set of the antibodies has been sent off to for clinical evaluation and development by AstraZeneca, which is licensed by Vanderbilt University. The other set has been licensed by IDBiologics, a Nashville-based biotechnology firm. Clinical trials for both sets of antibodies will begin this summer.