Antibody treatment for COVID-19 ready for clinical trials, says Toronto scientist

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TORONTO –
A biomedical engineer at the University of Toronto says his team has developed a synthetic antibody that could help people with COVID-19 fight their symptoms.

An injection of antibodies helps those who are symptomatic and at risk, and who cannot produce the necessary antibodies in time to prevent the serious results of COVID-19, says Sachdev Sidhu, who is appointed to the Donnelly Center for Cell Research and biomolecular.

His team has developed an “antibody that we believe to be a therapeutic agent and we are now working with the National Research Council of Montreal to do what we call scaling so that we can produce enough of it to be able to do clinical trials, “said Sidhu. on Your Morning Monday from CTV.

Sidhu said he hoped for these results and at the same time was striving to have many doses on hand to treat patients with COVID-19 once approval was in place.

About 95 percent of people can fight COVID-19 on their own, says Sidhu, who is a professor of molecular genetics at the Faculty of Medicine.

“But if you are critical, if you are old, if you are immunocompromised or vulnerable in our society, you should have that immune boost.” “

Sidhu’s laboratory received $ 1.3 million from two rounds of federal grants to accelerate its work. One project is to develop molecules that can target the virus inside cells, and another is examining those that can prevent it from entering.

Antibody treatments have been extremely effective for other diseases, says Sidhu, and ongoing work on COVID-19 builds on his laboratory’s extensive research into antibody treatments for a range of diseases.

The laboratory team includes researchers specializing in the treatment of antibodies to SARS and the genetic sequencing of viruses. According to the University of Toronto, the team “created hundreds of antibodies with therapeutic potential – some of which are in clinical development through spin-off companies and large pharmaceutical companies.”

Engineering antibodies are different from a vaccine, which is given before infection, and gives rise to your own antibodies to fight the disease before it sets in. But vaccine development is a long and complicated process and there is no guarantee of success.

Sidhu sees HIV as a good example of this.

Instead, he says his modified antibody could be ready for clinical trials in two months.

Sidhu says that many researchers are working on antibody treatments around the world, including some that are accelerated clinical trials. It is important for Canada to participate in this research, he said.

“Canada should have its own antibody therapy to have a drug that is safe for Canadians.”

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