Is this the path to a cure?
PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania (PNN) - September 15, 2020 - Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine say they appear to have made a breakthrough when it comes to the treatment and possible prevention of coronavirus.
Researchers claim to have isolated “the smallest biological molecule” that “completely and specifically neutralizes” the virus that causes coronavirus.
A drug has been created called Ab8, and is an antibody component that is 10 times smaller than regular, full-sized antibodies.
Scientists have been encouraged by trials that appear to have been “highly effective in preventing and treating” SARS-CoV-2 infections in mice and hamsters.
Importantly, it does not bind to human cells - a good sign that it won’t have negative side effects on people.
The drug could be seen as a potential preventative against SARS-CoV-2 according to the researchers at UPMC.
“Ab8 not only has potential as therapy for COVID-19, but it also could be used to keep people from getting SARS-CoV-2 infections,” said co-author John Mellors, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Pitt and UPMC.
“Antibodies of larger size have worked against other infectious diseases and have been well tolerated, giving us hope that it could be an effective treatment for patients with COVID-19, and for protection of those who have never had the infection and are not immune.”
Researchers now have to find people to take the drug - perhaps either by injection or maybe through inhalation through the nose.
Ab8 was evaluated by teams of scientists from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) and University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston, as well as the University of British Columbia and University of Saskatchewan.
All scientists noted how it appeared to stop the virus from entering cells.
Mice that were given Ab8 had ten times less infectious virus than those rodents that were not treated with the new drug.