Within the evolutionary chess match between humans and coronavirus, scientists have a strategized move in developing monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of coronavirus.
The lab-made cures losing their healing power and forcing researchers around the world to formulate new antibodies that are potent and resistant to new variants as well. Some of the monoclonal antibodies have been declared highly effective as a virus has mutated into various making it tough to recommend one specific antibody for it.
Former Harvard Medical School Professor, William Haseltine states, “I would hope that some of these will be in clinical trials soon and it won’t take long to determine if they work.” He further adds, “Either it protects you from infection or it doesn’t.”
A new cocktail antibody developed by Sherbrooke, Quebec, biotechnology company named Immune BioSolutions is in clinical trials in South Arica and Brazil. Participants receive treatment as a mist sprayed into their mouths for about three minutes while breathing normally.
Associate professor at the University of Montreal, Andres Finzi, who developed the antibody cocktail says, “There is a huge immune pressure on the virus.”
The mutations have fueled the rise of variants and subvariants that are defeating current lab-made antibodies. The evolution until now has favored mutations that allow the spike proteins to shake off antibodies that try to prevent it from grabbing into the cells.
Two of the three antibodies in the cocktail are known as IBO123, which aims to familiarize with the spike protein where the virus attaches to a human cell. It blocks the virus at the obvious place, with the changes in target allowing the virus to slip away from roadblocks as researchers say.
During the Phase 1 safety testing, Chief Medical Officer, Bruno Marada said, “We saw a sharp decline in viral loads.”
While conducting the Phase 2 tests, the company conducts two different trials to see whether the antibody cocktail has the desired effects. One for patients who have mild to moderate covid-19 symptoms and the second for patients hospitalized with severe covid-19.
Many other antibodies that are on zero in on stable portions of the spike protein were discovered in a lab at Pasteur Institute in Paris and developed by the French biotechnology company Spiklmm, as they have entered Phase 1 clinical trials.
The Head of the Humoral Immunology Lab at the Pasteur Institute says through email, “The two new antibodies have been effective in a lab dish against all the common coronavirus variants, though they are yet to be tested against the new omicron subvariants BQ.1, BQ.1.1 and XBB.
If approved for use, these antibodies would help people with weak immune systems before they are even exposed to the coronavirus. The antibody cocktail Evusheld would be used to prevent infection. On the contrary, Bebtelovimab would be given to patients after infection within a few days of the appearance of covid-19 symptoms.
Harvard University, Professor of Pediatrics, Bing Chen, has been investigating the atomic structure of spike protein. He says, “So far antibodies directed against the virus binding site have remained more potent than those aimed at other sections of protein.” he further emphasizes saying, “Developing better monoclonal antibodies should not take priority over other medical tools.”
While vaccines are highly effective early on the viral mutation has allowed more so-called breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated. Concerning the same Mr. Chen states, “We need much more effective vaccines, for sure.”
Despite the success with the next-gen cocktail, Immune BioSolutions Finzi concludes with a caution, “We shouldn’t underestimate the capacity of coronavirus to mutate.”