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Chinese scientists seeking potential COVID-19 treatment find 'effective' antibodies

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Chinese scientists seeking potential COVID-19 treatment find 'effective' antibodies

By Martin Quin Pollard

 

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A scientist works in the lab of Linqi Zhang on research into novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) antibodies for possible use in a drug at Tsinghua University's Research Center for Public Health in Beijing, China, March 30, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

 

There is currently no proven effective treatment for the disease, which originated in China and is spreading across the world in a pandemic that has infected more than 850,000 and killed 42,000.

 

Zhang Linqi at Tsinghua University in Beijing said a drug made with antibodies like the ones his team have found could be used more effectively than the current approaches, including what he called “borderline” treatment such as plasma.

 

Plasma contains antibodies but is restricted by blood type.

 

In early January, Zhang’s team and a group at the 3rd People’s Hospital in Shenzhen began analysing antibodies from blood taken from recovered COVID-19 patients, isolating 206 monoclonal antibodies which showed what he described as a “strong” ability to bind with the virus’ proteins.

 

They then conducted another test to see if they could actually prevent the virus from entering cells, he told Reuters in an interview.

 

Among the first 20 or so antibodies tested, four were able to block viral entry and of those, two were “exceedingly good” at doing so, Zhang said.

 

The team is now focused on identifying the most powerful antibodies and possibly combining them to mitigate the risk of the new coronavirus mutating.

 

If all goes well, interested developers could mass produce them for testing, first on animals and eventually on humans.

 

The group has partnered with a Sino-U.S. biotech firm, Brii Biosciences, in an effort “to advance multiple candidates for prophylactic and therapeutic intervention”, according to a statement by Brii.

 

“The importance of antibodies has been proven in the world of medicine for decades now,” Zhang said. “They can be used to treat cancer, autoimmune diseases and infectious diseases.”

 

The antibodies are not a vaccine but could potentially be given to at-risk people with the aim of preventing them from contracting COVID-19. 

 

Normally it takes around two years for a drug even to get close to approval for use on patients, but the COVID-19 pandemic means things are moving faster, he said, with steps that would previously be taken sequentially now being done in parallel.

 

Zhang, who posted the findings online, hopes the antibodies can be tested on humans in six months. If they are found to be effective in trials, actual use for treatment would take longer.

Other experts urge caution.

 

“There’s a number of steps which will now need to be followed before it could be used as a treatment for coronavirus patients,” Hong Kong University infectious disease specialist Ben Cowling said when the finding was described to him by Reuters.

 

“But it’s really exciting to find these potential treatments, and then have a chance to test them out. Because if we can find more candidates, then eventually we’ll have better treatment,” Cowling said.

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-04-01
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A French group has been doing the same testing, and now the Americans started doing the same testing two weeks ago... So far so good!

But before they recovered, they where on a treatment plan with PLAQUENIL tablet 200 mg (hydroxychloroquine) and a Z-Pack.

Now Germany has done the same treatment plan, and has added a cannabis/hemp oil also. Plasma contains antibodiesis is not new, it's been done before.

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Finding a possible cure that may be available in 2021 - clever

 

Not eating Pangolins and so not causing a global pandemic - cleverer

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Some troll posts have been removed. 

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3 hours ago, Chomper Higgot said:

Conspiracy hogwash.

 

Yes, because Chinese Communists governments are well known for their truthfulness, ethics and humanitarianism. 

 

Just like all those socialist people's republics of the soviet union were!

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14 hours ago, Skallywag said:

Give the world a virus, then sell them a prevention.

Lie and cover up the problem for weeks (or months?), export the virus to Italy and then send medical teams to help. Gives good news and helps to divide the EU further.

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4 hours ago, Chomper Higgot said:

Conspiracy hogwash.

Watching too much fake spin news from Fox News me thinks 😊

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Conspiracy troll posts and the replies have been removed. 

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An anti-body treatment which could beat a vaccine to the punch? Bill and Melinda must be spitting blood.

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8 hours ago, Stevemercer said:

While all means to a vaccine should be explored, it seems unlikely that a universal vaccine can be developed using antibodies that will effectively stop Covid-19.

 

 

Vaccines don't "use" antibodies or contain them.

 

Vaccines contain the disease agent ( deactivated virus, fragments of virus, or DNA coding for fragments of the virus). These cause the body to make its own antibodies against the disease without having to experience or suffer the disease.

 

Many vaccines exist which give near lifetime immunity to the disease: others give much shorter term immunity.

 

Since the SARS-CoV-2 virus seems to be quite stable so far, and not exist in significantly antigenically different strains (unlike the flu viruses) it is quite likely that immunity acquired from a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine will be effective against this virus for a long period.

 

 

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