International interest in a Dutch medicine for coronavirus is growing, based on antibodies. The medicine is being developed by Utrecht University and ErasmusMC.
The antibody in question was left over from research on the SARS and MERS viruses, which are also coronaviruses, NOS reports. It was still being stored in the freezer at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Utrecht University when COVID-19 made its way into the limelight.
How does the antibody medicine work?
The antibody can stop a coronavirus infection by binding to the coronavirus, but also by blocking it from attacking a person’s cells. The same antibody is also being researched in Israel, but because they had to develop it anew, they are about three months behind the Dutch researchers.
If everything goes well, the medicine could be used on some coronavirus patients in about six months
Currently, the research is in the animal testing phase, but if everything goes well, it could be used to treat small groups of coronavirus patients within six months. In order for this to be possible, the researchers would need to partner up with a pharmaceutical company.
Lots of international interest
There is already plenty of interest from major pharmaceutical companies, and at least three international companies have expressed interest in financing the development of the medicine. The patent for the medicine would remain with the researchers.
Will the medicine still be useful if there is a vaccine?
Even if a vaccine is developed quickly, this antibody medicine could form a crucial part of our fight against COVID-19. Not everyone reacts to vaccines in the same way, and some people do not produce antibodies. It can also be used to treat people who are already sick with coronavirus. These two scenarios are where the antibody medicine could come in handy in the long term.
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