To curb the spread of COVID-19, several pharmaceutical giants are already amidst the developmental stages of a potential vaccine. While a vaccine might help in immunizing people against COVID-19, it’s not useful for treating patients who’ve already been infected with it. This is where antibody-based therapies come into the picture.
Antibody therapies use antibodies, which are typically produced by plasma cells that help our immune system neutralize pathogens like viruses and bacteria. Antibody therapy is used to help our bodies fight various diseases, cancer, infections, etc. The antibodies used in such therapies are usually derived from infected humans or even animals, to help ward off diseases in patients.
With this global pandemic affecting thousands of people, everyday researchers and scientists are looking into possible alternatives for vaccines. The use of convalescent plasma along with other plausible treatments made with the blood of recently recovered COVID-19 patients is being studied. However, the main issue with using convalescent plasma is that manufacturers would need a constant supply of antibody-rich blood to produce it. To resolve this issue, scientists have come up with monoclonal antibodies. These antibodies can be preserved and manufactured in large quantities, and do not require a constant supply of antibody-rich blood to produce. Studies also show that these antibody drugs contain over ten thousand times more protein than vaccine shots, which has encouraged pharmaceutical giants like Eli Lily and Co and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals to develop their treatments using this approach.