Caixin
May 28, 2020 08:45 PM
SOCIETY & CULTURE

Coronavirus Antibody Shows Promise in Animal Trials

What’s new: Chinese researchers have isolated two human proteins that fight the virus which causes Covid-19, with one showing significant promise in animal trials, according to a peer-reviewed paper published online this week in Nature.

One of the antibodies, CB6, reduced virus levels in rhesus monkeys by around 99.9% when given one day after infection, the researchers reported, though human trials have not yet been conducted.

CB6 also seemed to have a strong prophylactic effect, meaning it could one day be administered to people at risk of exposure to prevent them from contracting Covid-19.

Tell me more: Monoclonal antibodies have long been considered as a potential Covid-19 treatment. Using them involves identifying candidate antibodies produced by a sick patient’s immune system, and synthesizing those in a lab in quantities that can be given to others.

CB6 and the other antibody described in the paper, CA1, work by blocking the way the coronavirus binds with ACE2 receptor proteins — the door through which the coronavirus infects human cells.

Junshi Biosciences CEO Hui Feng is one of the authors named on the study, which a Tuesday press release from the company described as “research results from the Company’s efforts to generate therapeutic COVID-19 neutralizing antibodies.”

Experts say that while neutralizing antibodies may be effective for targeted treatment and for prevention in high risk groups such as medical personnel, they are not suitable for population-level use.

Monoclonal antibodies do not last as long in the body and are hard to make at a large scale, making them unlikely to play a role in ending the coronavirus pandemic, which will take a widely accessible vaccine.

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use. To read the full Caixin article in Chinese, click here.

Related: Even With Massive Funding, Coronavirus Vaccine Isn’t Coming Soon

Contact reporter Flynn Murphy (flynnmurphy@caixin.com)

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