Regeneron Pharmaceuticals announced this past week that they have developed an experimental two-antibody cocktail that works well for COVID-19 patients recovering at home under quarantine.
Antibodies respond to foreign invaders in our bodies – viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Antigens on the surface of the invaders are recognized and the immune system attacks and destroys the invaders. https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/immune-response
Immunoglobulins are Y-shaped proteins in our immune system that are called antibodies. Each antibody contains four polypeptides. The structure of each antibody is different because it must recognize the individual antigen on the surface of other molecules.
Over 100 amino acids form a unique protein that can easily recognize an antigen and dispatch it quickly. The methodology for destroying an invading molecule depends on several factors.
As such, antibodies are divided into five categories – IgM, IgG, Iga, IgD, and IgE. The unique distribution of amino acids determines the type of antibody and the way it destroys its target. http://biology.arizona.edu/immunology/tutorials/antibody/structure.html
The antibody that Regeneron developed is a combination of two antibodies combined into a cocktail that can be administered to a COVID-19 patient. Most of the drugs being tested today are to reduce the severity of seriously ill COVID-19 patients. This antibody cocktail is intended for the mild to moderate cases that are not treated in hospitals.
Some people have a stronger response to an invading virus, bacterium, or fungus. People who respond strongly to foreign invaders (their immune systems are working well) are called seropositive. Those people with weaker immune systems are called seronegative.
The dual-antibody cocktail uses the serum from seropositive patients. Two-hundred and seventy-five mild to moderate COVID-19 patients were divided into two groups. One group was given the dual-antibody cocktail. The other group was given a placebo.
The median time for full alleviation of COVID-19 symptoms was seven days for the two-antibody cocktail group and thirteen days for the placebo group.
For patients given a placebo, the seropositive group had a median time to alleviation of symptoms of 7 days, compared to 13 days for seronegative patients. https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/regeneron-says-its-covid-antibody-treatment-reduces-viral-levels-improves-n1241414
Another option might soon become available to fight the pandemic virus. Tests are planned for hospitalized COVID-19 patients to determine the efficacy of treating those with more severe symptoms. Another group within Regeneron is suggesting that their dual-antibody cocktail might also be effective in preventing COVID-19.
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