American company says first tests for treatment against covid-19 were positive

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A 3D print of a SARS-CoV-2 protein, the virus that causes covid-19 afp_tickers

This content was published on September 30, 2020 – 12:45 AM

(AFP)

The American biotechnology company Regeneron said on Tuesday (29) that its cocktail of antibodies against coronavirus reduces the viral load and the recovery time of outpatients in the initial stage of treatment.

“We are very excited about the robust and consistent nature of this early data,” said George Yancopoulos, the company’s president and chief scientific officer.

“We started to discuss our findings with regulatory authorities as we continue our ongoing test,” he added.

The results were related to the first 275 patients recruited for the phase 1 study of Regeneron tests.

The patients were randomly assigned to receive a low dose, a high dose or a placebo of the drug, and were also classified according to the positive or negative response of the antibodies they generated.

The greatest benefit of treatment has occurred in patients who have not generated their own effective immune response, which suggests that the drug, known as REGN-COV2, could act as a substitute in the absence of antibodies, which are naturally generated, according to Yancopoulos.

Regeneron said it would recruit 1,300 patients for the next stages of outpatient testing. The company is also simultaneously conducting late phase studies for hospitalized covid-19 patients and for the potential use of the drug as prophylaxis.

Antibodies are infection-fighting proteins produced by the immune system that can attach to specific structures on the surface of pathogens and prevent them from invading cells.

The vaccines work by teaching the body to make its own antibodies, while scientists test antibodies already made with the blood of recovered patients, called convalescent plasma.

However, it is not possible to have a large scale convalescent plasma treatment.

Researchers can also examine the antibodies produced by recovered patients and select the most effective among thousands and then manufacture them on a larger scale.

Regeneron uses a multi-body strategy to decrease the chances of the virus mutating to prevent the blocking action of a single antibody, an approach the company detailed in a recent study published in the journal Science.

Last year, a triple antibody cocktail developed by Regeneron proved effective against the Ebola virus.

Still on Tuesday, the modern biotechnology company, one of the leaders in the race for a vaccine against covid-19, released the results of its phase 1 clinical trial, according to which its drug is safe and generated a strong immune response among a group of 40 older adults.

Phase 3 of Moderna, the last stage prior to approval, is also in progress and the first results may be released by the end of the year.

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