With the Coronavirus pandemic raging on globally and number of new cases on the rise, the ultimate goal in the fight against it is finding a safe vaccine to prevent new infections and most efficacious treatment available against the novel virus.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, there have been potential advances made exploring among many the use of convalescent plasma, monoclonal antibodies, and latest advancement on vaccine development.
I will briefly delve into each of these. Check out full report here
Monoclonal antibody therapy
Fast-forward, I will explain what some of these terms mean;
Antibody – These are proteins/soldiers your white blood cells produce to fight off disease causing organisms or cells in your own body that are harmful such as cancer cells. These molecules are very specific, they are produced for a very specific trigger, such as COVID-19.
Monoclonal antibodies – these are molecules that are manufactured in the laboratory to act as a substitute that can restore or mimic or increase the efficiency of the soldiers (antibodies that were already produced).
Monoclonal antibody therapy is the kind of therapy where your own body is empowered to produce antibodies to fight disease, in our case, COVID-19. This treatment is either for healing purposes or for prevention against COVID-19. According to the report released by the infectious disease experts, there are pharmaceutical companies making these therapies for treating COVID-19 patients as we wait for the vaccine to be distributed in a year or two.
Convalescent plasma therapy.
As of today, no drug has been proved to be safe for treating patients with Covid-19. Some doctors are using convalescent plasma therapy to treat their patients. People who have recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies.
Plasma is the clear, straw-colored portion of blood. Convalescent plasma, therefore, is plasma of a person recovering from an illness (e.g. COVID-19) or medical treatment and is introduced into the body of those who are infected. Researchers hope that this can boost the immune system of those with severe illness and in addition prevent those who are moderately ill from getting worse and experiencing serious complications of COVID-19.
This is not new. It was discovered in 1901. There was a noble prize given. This therapy is safe and can move very quickly through clinical trials. Scientists have also been and are still using plasma to manage patients with bleeding disorders, and surgical bleeding, in that case it is administered as fresh frozen plasma. Researchers want to enhance it for management of COVID-19 patients.