At the beginning of August, two drug companies began clinical trials for an antibody treatment for COVID-19 known as monoclonal antibodies. They have been racing to complete the clinical trials and have even claimed they could have this treatment available before the vaccine.
What Are Monoclonal Antibodies?
When the human body fights off infections it creates proteins called antibodies that naturally fight off specific diseases and prevent serious reinfection sometimes permanently and other times temporarily. Monoclonal Antibodies are synthetic antibodies created to mimic the body’s natural ones. It is still unclear whether natural COVID-19 antibodies prevent reinfection permanently, but the trial on the antibody treatment was conducted to test if creating antibodies would end infections more quickly or prevent them from becoming seriously ill.
Trials And Promising Results
The initial goal of the trial was to reduce the number of patients who were still infected 11 days later, but this did not end up being the case because patients with the placebo tested negative in the same amount of time as those who received the treatment. However, the benefit that the antibody treatment did have was on whether a COVID-19 infection became serious enough for hospitalization. Only 1.7 percent of patients given the treatment had to be hospitalized compared to the 6 percent of patients who needed to be hospitalized who were given a placebo. These are statistically significant numbers, but the trial was rather small with 302 patients being given the treatment and 150 being given the placebo.
Antibody Treatment Going Forward
Even with a small trial, these are encouraging signs and they have created a plan for another trial on 2000+ patients to confirm these results. One of the companies working on the project has already begun manufacturing its antibody treatment and is hoping to have thousands of doses by fall if their trials go well. Another trial began in August to test if the treatment could be used before infection as a preventative measure, but the jury remains out on this aspect of the trial.
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