Two trials are set to get underway this month at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas involving treatments that have proven to be highly effective at neutralizing the effects of every known variant of the COVID-19 virus, according to the lead investigator.
The trials use monoclonal antibodies to treat healthy adults who have recently been diagnosed with COVID-19.
“The analogy I would give is if you want to capture a burglar going into your house, capture them while the alarm system is going off, while the burglar is still in the house,” said Robert Gottlieb, MD, Ph.D., who is the lead, principal investigator for Baylor, as well as an advanced heart failure and transplant cardiologist. “With the antibodies, if we get the virus early while the virus is still at high levels, we can help knock it down early, giving your body a head start; basically, capturing the burglar while it is already there.”
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The trials deliver the same drug, a treatment developed by Eli Lilly and AbCellera Biologics, via two separate means – intravenously and through an injection.
So far, the results of previous trials show the antibodies being between 70% and 87% effective at reducing severe risks that can lead to hospitalization, according to Gottlieb.
The IV version of the treatment would need to be administered by medical professionals, but the purpose of the injection treatment is to ultimately develop a version that can be delivered in an auto-injector that someone could pick up from a pharmacy and administer themselves.
Outside of medical trials, monoclonal antibodies are currently only available for emergency use for people who are 65 and older and who are at high risk for severe disease.
The Baylor trials will primarily focus on adults between 18 and 64 who have received a COVID-19 diagnosis within the past three days and are not hospitalized. One set to start as early as next week will also focus on people 65 and older.
People who want to be considered for these trials can email email@example.com.