Despite all the hype about chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, anti-body based COVID-19 drugs might get a head start. Most drugs touted have shown problems in studies, but compelling evidence for anti-bodies are gaining attention, though not as popular as chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine.
The world is waiting for a new drug, but finding the right one is reaching snags. The great hope from malaria drug Hydroxychloroquine has moved nations to hoard the drug, though it still needs more studies. Overall, most of the drugs like Remdesivir and others like Camostat Mesylate (has less severe effects) have side effects.
Blood plasma is a quicker option
One other treatment that is getting more interest is plasma transfusions that have anti-bodies from survivors of COVID-19. There are some ongoing clinical trials, but the supply of available plasma is the problem.
For many pharmaceutical companies who are focusing on natural-based anti-bodies, that will be the most probable first generations of drugs that are engineered to combat COVID-19.
Why are anti-body drugs more compelling?
Instead of direct plasma transfusions, these drugs based on antibodies that are effective, consistent, mass-produced based on natural anti-bodies that give artificial immunity.
Developing natural immunity gained by exposing cells to a pathogen is risky because there is a 50/50 chance of dying. The next best alternative is harvesting anti-bodies for other unexposed systems to process.
Many drugs are used to cure ills like cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, infectious diseases like Ebola, and other conditions. Developing anti-COVID drugs will be a good mine for doctors who are treating coronavirus infected patients. Since the endorsement of Chloroquine, it has been selling like hotcakes, but it has nasty side effects.
Also read: Chloroquine Causes Lethal Poisoning in Nigeria, Death of Man in Arizona
Realizing the problems presented by drugs under study indicates that it will take longer to test. Some companies are going ahead with ant-body based COVID-19 drugs while some are daring to sell them by fall.
How anti-body based COVID-19 drugs will be more advantageous.
When a pathogen is detected by the immune system, it sends antibodies to destroy the invading proteins or anything considered alien to the host cell.
To be more efficient, anti-bodies (Y-shaped proteins) comes in variants to deal with many kinds of pathogens, except most anti-bodies are dissolved once the danger is gone.
Nature has given the cell an ability to have an immune memory. This is what survivors have and what needs to be harvested.
The goal is to obtain that specific anti-body at the right time and recreate them in a lab to disperse in many doses as needed.
It will give protection to high-risk health workers. To protect them from infections, these anti-pathogen cocktail are either for one virus or more than one virus, monoclonal or polyclonal.
Tom Moran the director of the Center for Therapeutic Antibody Development at Mount Sinai, School of Medicine said it can be a 'bridge' to getting a vaccine also monoclonal drugs are top sellers.
Meanwhile, there are pharmacies like GlaxoSmithKline, Vir Biotechnologies, Pennsylvania-based CSL Behring, and Maryland-based Emergent BioSolutions are racing to sell the most efficient anti-body therapy soonest.
Takeda and Vir are analyzing anti-pathogens from human blood-based off SARS epidemic survivors and using it for the coronavirus if it works. Some blood donations from COVID-19 survivors are looked at for anti-bodies. When the antibodies are found, they can be reproduced artificially.
Whether an antibody-based COVID-19 drug will be monoclonal or polyclonal, that is left to be seen. One question is whether plasma from donations can be recreated in many doses. Does the pharma have the right to sell it? These types of medicines are the quickest option for a cure.
Related article: Blood Plasma From COVID-19 Survivors Can Be Used to Fight Infection