While WHO and numerous science communities across the globe have warned us all that there might never be a perfect vaccine or drug against coronavirus, one still can’t help but hope. And in the haste of devising new treatments for the COVID-19 infection, an old treatment for treating chronic illnesses has been rediscovered. Scientists claim that monoclonal antibodies can be our soldiers to combat the coronavirus. I’m sure that your mind right now is plagued with questions such as what are monoclonal antibodies and how can they help? Well, let me help and provide an answer to your conundrums.
What are Monoclonal Antibodies?
Monoclonal antibodies are nothing but naturally grown human proteins in bioreactor vats. To date, scientists haven’t confirmed the pathway through which these antibodies can neutralize the effect of COVID-19. However, pharmaceutical companies seem confident that the right dosage of these antibodies can significantly alter the path of COVID-19. This is a deadly infection caused by Sars-CoV-2 that has claimed nearly 700,000 lives across the globe.
Monoclonal antibodies are typically used to treat severe illnesses such as cancer and other disorders. These antibodies can be specifically designed to attack and destroy the coronavirus. This biotherapy can be so effective that even America’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci is vouching for it. According to him, monoclonal antibodies are “almost a sure bet” against COVID-19. America is currently in the midst of developing such antibodies and the deal has been endorsed by the top U.S. officials.
The U.S. pharmaceutical giant Regeneron Pharmaceuticals is currently developing a two-antibody cocktail. The company believes that it can limit the virus’ ability to escape better than one. The data about the same is expected to be released by late summer or early fall. The U.S. government has signed a deal for nearly $450 million supply.
The Effect of Monoclonal Antibodies:
Unlike vaccines that generate an immune response inside your body, the effects of manufactured antibodies usually fade over time. Having said that, researchers still believe that monoclonal antibodies can provide temporary relief to at-risk people. These include healthcare professionals, other frontline COVID-19 warriors, and older individuals.
This means that these antibodies provide instant immunity. You don’t have to wait around for your body to generate an army of antibodies and then fight the disease. However, protection comes at a price. Injections with monoclonal antibodies cost nearly $5,000 to $10,000 per shot. Moreover, their production is also limited to developed countries such as the U.S. only.
Another concern of the researchers is that the coronavirus can quickly become immune to these antibody injections. That’s why scientists are already on their way of developing second-generation compounds with targets other than the spike proteins the coronavirus uses to escape the immune response.
Like WHO said, there’s not going to be a silver bullet for the coronavirus. What we need is a consistent effort from countries across the world. The only way to make it to the end of this arduous journey is sustained commitment.