MAY 06, 2020 8:19 AM PDT

Breakthrough in Antibody Treatment for COVID-19

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Israeli scientists have announced significant progress in isolating an antibody that may be effective in treating those with coronavirus. Although not yet tested on animals nor humans, it shows signs of being able to neutralize the virus in humans. 

From research conducted by the Israel Institute of Biological Research, the antibody seems to meet three key parameters for treating the virus. Firstly, it is monoclonal. This means that it does not contain antibodies that would render it difficult to use. Next, tests have shown that the antibody is able to neutralize the virus. Lastly, the scientists showed that at least in a petri dish, the antibody is able to treat an aggressive strain of the virus. 

As far as we know, according to comprehensive scientific publication from around the world, the Biological Research Institute is the first in the world to achieve this breakthrough in these three parameters at the same time.” say the researchers. 

Although exact timelines are not yet known, the researchers will next test the antibody in animals, and then humans. Meanwhile, Professor Shumel Shapiro, the institute’s director said that the antibody is in the process of receiving a patent, and that the next phase of research includes contacting manufacturers around the world to put the antibody in mass production for commercial use. 

Given that close to 4 million people around the world have contracted the virus, with around 260,000 dead as of May 6 2020, many are optimistic on what this finding could mean for the future of the disease. 

Having called their finding a ‘significant breakthrough’, the researchers nevertheless warn that the treatment must still be confirmed in experimental settings and that a treatment made with the antibody will take time. 

“This is an important milestone, but afterwards comes complicated tests and a process of getting regulatory approval.” said the Biological Research Institute in a statement. “Per an assessment by the institute’s scientists, this technological breakthrough is poised to shorten the process, which will go on for several months.”


Sources: Forbes, Business Insider

About the Author
  • Science writer with keen interests in technology and behavioral biology. Her current focus is on the interplay between these fields to create meaningful interactions, applications and environments.
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