The United States National Institute of Health will begin testing the feasibility of monoclonal antibodies on Covid-19 infected patients soon. Two patient groups will be formed - one group with mild symptoms and the other group will be comprised of hospitalized patients.
These monoclonal antibodies are synthetically made and derived from other types of proteins. They are a form of immune proteins that are selective in attacking a particular type of cell and usually work by. The ones being used for COVID are modified to act on a specific part of the viral cell, aiming to prevent the virus from taking over the host cell, or at the very least, slow down the process.
This clinical experiment will answer the questions of the therapeutic impact on a large and diverse patient group with “differing levels of disease severity.”
LY-CoV555, the antibody synthesized through the collaboration of US pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and AbCellera, a Canada-based biotechnology firm.
The antibody trials are part of a larger program dedicated to combating the virus outbreak. The Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions in Vaccine (ACTIV) was created last April in the early days of the pandemic. Since then, the program has incessantly worked on the therapeutic evaluation of many drug products that are suspected to have Coronavirus-fighting effects.
The patient trial is already the second phase of the Eli Lilly monoclonal antibody trial. It will be conducted on out-patients with mild disease manifestations and those admitted in hospitals with a time frame of eight weeks. Results are expected by October or November. Apart from that, patients in nursing homes will also be involved in phase three trials to see if the antibody treatment also prevents transmission in close quarters and hasten recovery in a span of two weeks.
The intended mechanism of action for the monoclonal antibody is to disrupt the normal viral penetration into the cell and stop it from causing further infection. The big objective is to find out whether the treatment also "reduces the duration of symptoms."
Another partnership of Eli Lilly is with the Chinese company Junshi Biosciences - the JS016 antibody that is yet to begin trials.
Any hints for the market of the treatment are still unknown. The company will still await trial results before deciding on the next move.