coronavirus pandemic

Trial Underway for COVID-19 Polyclonal Antibodies

UT Southwestern is enrolling patients to test a new antibody product that may be effective on various variants of the coronavirus

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Right now, as thousands of North Texans continue to test positive COVID-19, there's another possible antibody treatment in the pipeline.

UT Southwestern is a trial site for an investigational polyclonal antibody therapy, SAB-185, created by SAB Biotherapeutics.

Polyclonal antibodies, when given to patients early in their illness, are designed to attack several parts of the coronavirus, unlike monoclonal antibody treatments that just attach to the virus's spike protein.

"One of the Achilles' heels with monoclonal antibodies is that if there is a mutation, for example, the spike protein like we're seeing with omicron, then those monoclonal antibodies are less effective," UT Southwestern professor of internal medicine Dr. Mamta Jain.

"Polyclonals may be effective because they would work on other parts of the virus," said Jain.

Some of the latest data has shown all but a few of the authorized monoclonal antibody treatments don't work against the omicron variant.

Supplies of the effective therapies have run dry, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

As of Tuesday, COVID-19 patients made up more than 18% of hospital bed capacity in North Texas.

Polyclonal antibody therapeutics could help ease not just a COVID-19 infection, but the potential strain on the healthcare system.

"We're gonna have tools in our toolbox. We're gonna have things to use, but we're gonna have to remain vigilant," said Jain.

Those interested in participating in the study at UT Southwestern can email or call 214-645-9390.

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