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Covid-19

Discovery against covid-19 announced by Chinese scientists

04/03/2020 | 17h06
Discovery against covid-19 announced by Chinese scientists
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A group of Chinese scientists has isolated several antibodies that they consider "extremely efficient" to prevent the new coronavirus's ability to enter cells, which can be useful for both treating and preventing covid-19.

 

Currently, there is no proven effective treatment for the disease, which emerged in China and is proliferating around the world in the form of a pandemic that has already infected more than 850,000 people and killed 42,000.

 

Zhang Linqi of Beijing's Tsinghua University said that a drug made with antibodies like the ones his team found could be used more effectively than current approaches, including what he called "borderline" treatments like plasma . Plasma contains antibodies, but is limited by blood type.

 

Then they ran another test to see if they could actually prevent the virus from entering cells, he said in an interview with Reuters.

 

Among the 20 or so antibodies tested, four were able to block viral entry, and of these two were "immensely good" for doing so, said Zhang.

 

Now the team is dedicated to identifying the most powerful antibodies and possibly combining them to mitigate the risk of the new coronavirus mutating.

 

If all goes well, interested developers could mass-produce them for testing, first on animals and in the future on humans.

 

The group partnered with a Chinese-American biotechnology company, Brii Biosciences, in an attempt to "present several candidates for a prophylactic and therapeutic intervention", according to a statement from Brii.

 

"The importance of antibodies has been proven in the medical world for decades," said Zhang. "They can be used to treat cancer, autoimmune diseases and infectious diseases."

 

Antibodies are not a vaccine, but it is possible to apply them to people at risk, in order to prevent them from contracting covid-19.

 

It usually doesn't take less than two years for a drug to even get approved for use in patients, but the covid-19 pandemic speeds up the processes, he said, and steps that would have taken place sequentially are now being done in parallel.



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