Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have isolated a tiny biomolecule that can completely neutralize the coronavirus. The drug created on its basis can be used not only for treatment, but also for the prevention of disease, scientists say.
The study, published in the journal Cell, describes a tiny antibody component that has been shown to be highly effective in treating coronavirus in mice and hamsters. It has been found among more than 100 billion decoys for the SARS-Cov-2 spike protein. The isolated biomolecule was used to create a drug called Ab8, which has a therapeutic and prophylactic effect against infection.
Due to its size - ten times smaller than conventional antibodies - this component is easily and quickly distributed in body tissues, effectively neutralizing the pathogen. Moreover, it can be administered in different ways, including by inhalation. The authors of the study emphasized that the antibody component does not bind to the antibody cells, which guarantees the absence of side effects in drugs with its content.
Most importantly, Ab8 can be used not only to treat the initial stage of the disease, but also to prevent it, including in those people who have never encountered coronavirus and are not immune to it.
Note that this is not the first drug that is considered as a potential therapy for the treatment of mild COVID-19. In June, the American pharmaceutical giant Gilead Sciences announced clinical trials of remdesivir in the form of inhalation. This will allow patients with mild and asymptomatic COVID-19 to be treated at home. It is known that antiviral drugs are most effective at an early stage of the disease, when the pathogen has not yet spread in the body.
“It is especially important for patients at risk to start treatment before the disease progresses. This will help many of them avoid hospitalization altogether, "said Gilead Sciences CEO Daniel O'Day.