US doctor say ‘two to three weeks’ away from engineering COVID-19 cure

Dr Jacob Glanville is working on creating antibodies which could be injected into coronavirus patient

News Desk March 20, 2020
An American doctor has claimed that his company is three to four weeks away from engineering a therapeutic antibody to combat COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

“What my company is doing is adapting antibodies to recognise and neutralise the novel coronavirus. So this would ... [be] sort of skipping what a vaccine does," Dr Jacob Glanville, the Distributed Bio co-founder and CEO, told Fox News in an interview on Thursday.

“Instead of giving you a vaccine and waiting for it to produce an immune response, we just give you those antibodies right away. And so within about 20 minutes, that patient has the ability to neutralise the virus," Glanville said.

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Glanville said once his colleagues are done engineering the antibodies they will send it to the US military before eventually conducting a human study this summer.

“The completed drug is going to go to the USAMRIID [United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases]. So that's the US military and they're going be testing it for its ability to neutralide the virus.

"At the same time, that drug was going to go to Charles River Laboratories, which is an international contract research group, which is going to test the safety of that drug,” Glanville said.

“Both of those pieces of information come together so that we can produce batches, go through some red tape, and then do the first human studies that we'll do on 200 to 600 people in the summer, probably in July."

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Glanville said that he believes "social distancing" is working to reduce the spread of the virus, but that medicine is needed to further combat the spread.

"It is definitely helping. We are way safer now than we were a week ago. The social distancing measures slow down the growth of new cases. But the problem is, eventually people have to go back to work. And the coronavirus appears so infectious that we don't think we're actually going to be able to just squish out the pandemic just through social distancing," Glanville said.

"So eventually we're going to need medicine because otherwise all the models I'm looking at are guessing that this thing's going to last all year and it could indeed become seasonal with everybody eventually becoming infected."

Currently, there is no vaccine or proven therapy available to prevent or cure the highly infectious COVID-19 disease. US President Donald Trump said a day earlier that an old malaria drug has shown “very very encouraging results” in treating the new illness.

The novel coronavirus, which originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, has quickly spread to the entire world, killing thousands of people and sickening tens of thousands others. The World Health Organisation has declared it a global pandemic which has the potential to infect billions of peole worldwide.


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