Pittsburgh researchers have developed a drug that completely neutralizes coronaviruses.
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The potential drug is called AB-8, a small piece of anti-COVID antibody used to treat COVID patients by blocking or neutralizing the cornivirus. But this very small molecule gives major benefits over other drugs, and perhaps vaccines as well.
The broad range of plasma of antibodies – plasma from recovered COVID patients – contained in plasma – has variable effectiveness in COVID patients. Now researchers at Pittsburgh Medical Center have found the exact piece of effective antibody that blocks the coronavirus.
The way antibodies work against COVID is by attaching and blocking the so-called spike proteins that coronoviruses use to attach specific receptors on human cells. Through painstaking molecular analysis, UPMC scientists identified a small fragment of neutralizing antibodies. Called AB-8, this is the part that actually blocks most viruses. Its small size, about one-tenth that of a full-size antibody, offers several advantages.
Dr. of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center John Mellors said, “It is small, it is powerful, it is part of a human antibody and its size means that it can also be inhaled.”
AB-8 does not produce a wide range of antibodies because a vaccine can cause side effects, and should not be given by IV delirium. It can be given both to treat a COVID infection and to prevent COVID in high-risk populations.
While AB-8 has only been tested in animals, most mice have corona receptors similar to humans and were shown to be safe.
Human clinical trials, which should be shorter and faster than vaccine trials, are estimated to begin in early 2021.
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