Scientists at a California biotech company have found an antibody that completely blocks coronavirus in a discovery they called a ‘cure’, Fox News reported. Executives at Sorrento Therapeutics announced the possible coronavirus antibody treatment on Friday and said it could be more effective than a vaccine in quickly combating COVID-19 of which up to 200000 doses could be made in a month while Sorrento waits for approval for the drug. The company has filed for an emergency approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but has not yet received the green light.
“We want to emphasize there is a cure.” Sorrento’s CEO, Dr. Henry Ji, told Fox. “There is a solution that works 100 percent“.
“If we have the neutralizing antibody in your body, you don’t need the social distancing. You can open up a society without fear“.
Sorrento’s drug, dubbed STI-1499 is one about a dozen antibodies – immune cells that neutralize pathogens like coronavirus – that the company discovered had some effect on coronavirus. A cocktail of antibodies could act as a “protective shield” for human cells, preventing the virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 – from entering them. It blocks the virus from its primary doorway, a receptor on the surface of human cells, the ACE2 receptor. The antibody has not yet been tested in people, so how it might behave inside the body and its potential side effects are totally unknown.
The company plans to test STI-1499 on monkeys and possibly ferrets, two species that are susceptible to the novel coronavirus. If testing on animals is successful, Sorrento Therapeutics could begin testing the antibody in clinical trials of severe COVID-19 patients by mid-July.
If the antibody treatment is effective and safe in patients, the company expects to begin a larger trial in August or possibly September. The FDA has not yet approved the use of antibody-rich plasma for treating coronavirus but is currently investigating it.