California biopharmaceutical company announces breakthrough in anti-coronavirus antibodies

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EXCLUSIVE – A California-based biopharmaceutical company claims to have discovered an antibody that could protect the human body from coronavirus and drive it out of a person’s system within four days, Fox News reported exclusively.

Later Friday, Sorrento Therapeutics will announce its discovery of the STI-1499 antibody, which the San Diego company says may provide “100% inhibition” of COVID-19, adding that treatment may be available for months. before a vaccine is marketed.

“We want to emphasize that there is a cure. There is a solution that works 100%, “said Dr. Henry Ji, founder and CEO of Sorrento Therapeutics, to Fox News. “If we have the neutralizing antibody in your body, you don’t need social distancing. You can open a company without fear. “

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“It puts his arms around the virus. It wraps around the virus and moves them out of the body. “

– Dr. Henry Ji, CEO and founder, Sorrento Therapeutics

The healthcare and pharmaceutical industries have worked to develop viable vaccines and antibody treatments, as the number of deaths from COVID-19 is expected to reach 100,000 by June 1.

Many medical researchers are scrambling to find antibodies, optimistic about the possibility of providing a cure or preventive care in less time than it would take to develop a vaccine. Antibody treatments have been used for 100 years to prevent infections, but their effectiveness has yielded mixed results. Finding a successful antibody or convalescent plasma therapy for COVID-19 could present challenges.

“Doctors take blood plasma from patients who have recovered from COVID-19 and infuse it for those who are seriously ill. Plasma is loaded with antibodies and the approach is promising, “wrote former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb. a recent Wall Street Journal editorial. “The constraint: there is not enough plasma from the patients recovered to go around. “

Some medical experts believe that while research on antibodies is promising, there are concerns about the duration of the effects in fighting the virus in an infected patient.

“Antibodies, in general, have been very effective in bringing the virus [levels] down if you’ve had a high burden of infection, “Phyllis Kanki, professor of immunology and infectious diseases at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said in a recent interview. “There are limits to what you can give and for how long. “

Sorrento Therapeutics executives believe they have found the key to successful treatment.

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Through his studies, Sorrento has tested and tested the billions of antibodies they have collected over the past decade. They say this has helped identify hundreds of potential antibody candidates who could successfully bind to advanced coronavirus proteins. They discovered that a dozen of these antibodies demonstrated the ability to block advanced proteins from attaching to the human enzyme ACE2, which is the receptor that a virus normally uses to enter human cells.

Sorrento Therapeutics, a California-based biopharmaceutical company, claims to have discovered an antibody that could protect the body from the coronavirus and flush it out of a person's system within four days. (Courtesy of Sorrento Therapeutics)

Sorrento Therapeutics, a California-based biopharmaceutical company, says it discovered an antibody that could protect the body from the coronavirus and flush it out of a person’s system within four days. (Courtesy of Sorrento Therapeutics)

Through other tests, the Sorrento researchers discovered that there was a particular antibody that had been shown to be 100% effective in preventing COVID-19 from infecting health cells – STI-1499.

“When the antibody stops a virus from entering a human cell, the virus cannot survive,” said Dr. Ji. “If they cannot enter the cell, they cannot replicate. So this means that if we stop the virus from contracting the cell, the virus will eventually disappear. The body eliminates this virus. “

“It puts his arms around the virus. It wraps around the virus and moves them out of the body. “

Sorrento executives say antibody treatment can be more effective than a vaccine. (Courtesy of Sorrento Therapeutics)

Sorrento executives say antibody treatment can be more effective than a vaccine. (Courtesy of Sorrento Therapeutics)

Dr. Ji pointed out that the antibody can be used as a preventative treatment because there are no side effects and it can be more effective than any vaccine that may be developed.

“It is the best solution,” he said. “The goal of making a vaccine is to generalize a neutralizing antibody. So if you already have one, you don’t need the body to generate one from a vaccine. You already provided it. intermediate. “

It was recently announced that Sorrento has partnered with the New York-based Mount Sinai healthcare system to develop a cocktail of antibodies. Dubbed Covi-Shield, the cocktail will be made up of three different antibodies and, pending FDA approval, will be used as a prophylactic treatment for people who return to work and those who have been exposed to COVID-19.

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Sorrento officials have said that STI-1499 is likely to be the cocktail’s first antibody. They are also looking to develop the antibody as a stand-alone therapy because of its high potency, according to a statement provided to Fox News.

They said they could deliver up to 200,000 doses per month and were looking to produce tens of millions more to meet expected demand.

Dr. Mark Brunswick, executive vice-president of Sorrento, said that the development of antibody treatments could be more effective in rapidly fighting the coronavirus. While vaccine treatment can take up to 18 months, effective anti-body treatment can become available in much less time and with a much higher success rate. However, he points out that prompt approval from the Food and Drug Administration would be required to make the antibody treatment available within months.

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“As soon as he is infused, this patient is now immune to the disease,” Dr. Brunswick told Fox News. “For the duration, the antibody is in this system. So if we were approved [by the FDA] today, anyone who receives this antibody can return to work and are not afraid of catching COVID-19. ”

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