As few treatments have proven to be effective against COVID-19, vaccine trials and drug testing are being carried out in many countries around the world. According to the latest developments, certain drugs, known as monoclonal antibodies, which are based on the body’s natural antibody defenses, may be able to provide early protection to people against COVID-19.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States has launched two advanced trials to test monoclonal antibodies in patients admitted with Covid-19 in select hospitals and those with mild disease. Earlier, in April, NIH launched the programme Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions in Vaccine or ACTIV for “speeding development of the most promising treatments and vaccines” to help manage the COVID-19 pandemic. The two advanced trials are also part of this programme.
The drugs are being tested by various pharmaceutical companies including Eli Lilly & Co. and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Speaking about the antibody drugs, Director National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a leading expert on infectious diseases, Dr Anthony Fauci said, “There is a need for safe therapies to be given early in disease and monoclonal antibodies are paramount among them. I’m very anxious to see what the results are.”
He further added, “Studying the impact of this investigational therapeutic on multiple patient populations at the same time is critical to determining whether it can help COVID-19 patients with differing levels of disease severity.”
Meanwhile, coronavirus continues to spread around the world. So far it has infected 23.6 million people in 188 countries, with 16.1 million recoveries and over 812,000 deaths. The highest number of cases, more than 5.8 million, have been reported in the United States, followed by Brazil (3.6 million) and India (3.1 million). Latin America and Asia currently have the highest number of daily confirmed cases.