University of Pittsburgh researchers are hopeful to begin COVID-19 medicine testing by 2021 with a new antibody. Not in the form of a vaccine, the medicine will be both a treatment and a preventative measure.
The medication, named Ab8, will begin safety trials with the hope that the FDA will approve clinical trials according to Dr. John Mellors, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at UPMC and Pitt. The medicine, which will not be administered as a vaccine, is intended to help people who have already been infected with the virus to prevent it from spreading further.
The medicine was successful in stopping COVID-19’s spread in mice and hamsters, according to an article published in the medical journal Cell. The new antibody, which was discovered at Pitt from a lab composed of 1 trillion antibodies drawn from volunteer humans works by stopping the virus from attaching to human cells, which is how the infection spreads throughout the body.
In addition to developing a medication that researchers hope can be rolled out sooner rather than later, the University of Pittsburgh is also involved in vaccine trials as well. The sooner that vaccines and medication become available, the sooner things will begin to go back to normal. Vaccines could be available as early as January, and would be free to all Americans, according to the “playbook.”
There are multiple vaccines that could be approved in the United States in the coming months. Vaccines would first be available to people more susceptible to the virus, such as front-line workers and other essential employees who would be in greater danger of contracting COVID-19. According to Fox News, it will likely require two doses of the same vaccine between 21 and 28 days apart. “Americans should know that the vaccine development process is being driven completely by science and the data,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement on the possibility.
With medical research like the University of Pittsburgh’s, the hope that some form of medication – vaccine or otherwise – will be rolled out soon is a very optimistic prospect for the American public.
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