Scientists have relentlessly pursued to develop an antibody to treat COVID-19. Discover how efficient it is and whether you need it now.
What Are Antibodies for COVID?
How does the immune system identify foreign bodies entering the body? The answer is, the immune system consists of different antibodies trained to identify a specific set of foreign bodies. Thus, when a new disease arises, there are no trained antibodies to recognize the foreign element in the human body. That is where vaccines come into the picture. Vaccines train an indigenous set of antibodies for creating an immune response against the threat of a pathogen. The newly developed antibody to treat COVID-19 is no different.
Antibody to Treat COVID-19
Here is everything you need to know about the development, trial, and functionality of the new antibody:
What Are Monoclonal Antibodies?
The Vanderbilt University Medical Centered had teamed up with AstraZeneca to test the collected antibodies from patients who had recovered from the COVID infection in early 2020. AstraZeneca licensed these samples and scientists were able to produce monoclonals of the same.
So what are monoclonals? Monoclonal antibodies are those antibodies produced by a unique single-celled antibody in the white blood cells. Monoclonal antibodies are better than polyclonal antibodies because they are pure, homogeneous, and more consistent.
Clinical Trial of Chronically-Ill COVID Patients
AstraZeneca began to trial these monoclonal antibodies named AZD7442 in 2020. They showed how these antibodies could prevent severe infection in individuals with compromised immunity.
Here is what they discovered in the study. AstraZeneca trialled the benefits and side effects of AZD7442 under a project named Provent. Provent involved 5000 participants who were either very weak due to autoimmune diseases or unresponsive immunity and patients with chronic illness.
At the end of 6 months, there were zero deaths and no severe COVID-19 cases among the individuals injected with the AZD7442 antibody. The group injected with placebos ended up with three severe COVID-19 cases and two patients died.
Subsequently, individuals exhibiting 25 COVID-19 symptoms also got injected with the AZD7442 antibody. It showed a 77% reduction of severity in chronically ill COVID-19 patients.
Clinical Trial of Individuals Exposed to COVID-19
Several other studies and trials are testing the efficiency of the AZD7442 antibodies. Storm Chaser was close to Provent, but it failed to meet the primary goals.
Storm Chaser studied the effects of the AZD7442 antibody in 1000 participants who were exposed but yet to test positive for the coronavirus infection. They found no significant differences between the groups administered with placebos and the group supplied with AZD7442 antibodies.
How Does the AstraZeneca Antibody Work?
Provent is neither peer-reviewed nor published at present but it has taken the world one step closer to finding a solution for the pandemic. The antibody enters the immune system through intramuscular (IM) injection. Penny Ward, a researcher at London’s King’s College, shared her thoughts on how introducing the antibody through IV may increase its effectiveness. So, how does monoclonal antibody therapy work?
- It created long-term efficacy. Though trials have shown that the antibodies received from a single treatment will be effective for 12 months, researchers believe it can generate a long-term immune response in humans.
- It prevents the virus from multiplying. Thus, reducing the severity and long-term side effects of the disease and the medications.
- Reduced severity automatically reduces pre-existing illnesses from worsening.
- Patients who are required to take immunosuppressants for treatment can benefit from these antibodies.
- Though the samples were obtained from patients not infected by the Delta virus, preclinical trials and research have shown the AZD7442 antibodies to be effective against the Delta and Delta Plus variants as well.
The new antibody to treat COVID-19 is currently being peer-reviewed for publishing.