The leader of the team that enrolled the first patient in the U.S. on a trial of the treatment given to the president says he's seen promising results.
The trial using Regeneron's cocktail of monoclonal antibodies involves a one-time infusion, designed to attack the novel coronavirus before it takes hold on your body.
The antibody cocktail is given in the first few days of illness. From there, it attaches to a protein of the virus and neutralizes it before the illness reaches the inflammatory stages affecting other organs.
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"We know that there is a significant reduction in the viral load in patients who've been treated early, so it really is one of those promising products that can be made available to people with COVID-19 disease," said Infectious Disease Dr. Mezgebe Berhe at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.
He is the principal investigator in a Regeneron-sponsored trial of the treatment, that's now been used on North Texans enrolled.
Adding to its promise, he says, is that monoclonal antibodies can be mass produced unlike antibodies that are found in the plasma donated by COVID-19 survivors.
With no adverse reactions in studies so far, Dr. Berhe says it makes sense that the President received the treatment soon after diagnosis.
"I was not surprised. He was diagnosed only yesterday. He has mild symptoms and therefore he should have access to a treatment has some safety profile established."
Baylor Scott & White was the first Texas health system approved to conduct the first monoclonal antibodies study led by Regeneron.
While many clinical trials to date have used medications that have been used for other conditions (essentially repurposing existing medications), the Anti-Spike trial from Regeneron is among those that are newly created to specifically target the spike proteins with the intent of neutralizing the virus that causes COVID-19.
The use of monoclonal antibodies to fight different diseases and infections is not new. Monoclonal antibodies have been used to treat conditions like inflammatory diseases and cancers, among others. The difference in application with these other diseases versus the Anti-Spike trial is that the monoclonal antibodies with these other indications target human tissue. With Anti-Spike, the target is a part of the virus itself.
Earlier this week, Regeneron released some early results of tests using its antibody cocktail in coronavirus patients and said it seemed to reduce levels of the virus and improve symptoms in patients.