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Antibody fragment-based therapy against COVID19 underway

Although plasma-based passive immunity against COVID-19 has been reported to be working well in clinical trials, it has several theoretical and practical concerns, including limitation in the availability of human plasma samples.

By: Express Web Desk | Hyderabad | Published: May 15, 2020 9:08:24 pm
hyderabad coronavirus, coronavirus testing, coronavirus cases, covid 19 hyderabad cases, latest news Medics carry testing kit to check COVID-19 patients who have completed mandatory 14-days of quarantine (PTI Photo)

The University of Hyderabad (UoH) and the CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology are collaborating with Vins Bioproducts Ltd, an anti-sera manufacturing company, which is also incubated at University of Hyderabad BioNEST incubation centre, to develop an antibody fragment-based immunotherapy is underway for immediate treatment for COVID-19 pandemic.

Although plasma-based passive immunity against COVID-19 has been reported to be working well in clinical trials, it has several theoretical and practical concerns, including limitation in the availability of human plasma samples. As the pandemic has become a major global crisis, scientists are exploring alternative strategies of using horses or other higher animals to generate antibodies against the SARS-COV2 viral antigens.

The antibodies, raised in horses using inactivated coronavirus, is fractionated and purified to produce antibody fragments — F(ab’)2 — for neutralising coronavirus in the patients for recovery.

“This collaborative effort plans to use the F(ab’)2 platform technology which has been providing neutralising antibodies from horses for a variety of life-threatening pathologies in humans as anti-venoms, anti-toxins, and anti-virals,” said a press release.

Horse-based immunoglobulins can be produced in large quantities as a promising alternative therapy, which would be economical and can be made readily available to a larger population, added the statement.

According to UOH, the collaborators have complementary expertise required for developing the therapy for treating the COVID 19 pandemic. The team is hopeful about this treatment and feels that this would be more productive, efficient, safe, which can meet the enormous requirement for the treatment of COVID-19 infection.

The UoH team is headed by Dr Nooruddin Khan, an Associate Professor at the Department of Animal Biology, School of Life Sciences. The team at CCMB is headed by Dr Krishnan Harinivas, who is a principal scientist and specialises in the area of molecular virology. Dr. Krishna Mohan is leading the research team at VINS. Dr. Mohan specializes in bioprocessing and Product Development.

Siddharth Daga, CEO of Vins Bioproducts Ltd., complimented the technical and infrastructural strengths available in the three collaborating organisations and making available the specific therapeutic anti-viral product in the shortest possible time.

In the statement, Prof. Appa Rao Podile, Vice-Chancellor, UoH hoped that this would result in successful development of antibody fragment-based immunotherapy for immediate treatment for COVID-19 pandemic at the earliest.

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