Biotech company Regeneron has released the initial results of tests carried out on coronavirus patients. The test, as announced by the company, shows that the cocktail can lessen the damage done by the virus and also improve symptoms. The company stated on Tuesday that the antibody worked faster in patients whose immune system didn’t seem to be fighting off the virus.
The research involved 1,000 patients but only 275 results were listed in the announcement. The company said that most of the patients tested did not have to pay frequent visits to the hospital, though none of the patients was very sick at the beginning of the testing. The company said it only considered a small number out of those in the trial. A spokesman stated that the results show that the cocktail can be used where a natural response to the virus is not available.
“The research shows that antibodies, natural or not, are instrumental in the fight against the virus,” Dr. Jeanne Marazzo, the director of the division of infectious diseases at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, said.
The director also stated that the cocktail could significantly reduce the risk of infecting others because the tests showed a drastic reduction of the virus in patients’ throats. Scientists are showing slight skepticism because the report has not been published in any scientific journal. The press release made by the company did not give details about the research and how well it will work if used on a large number of people.
Dr. Leonard Scleifer, co-founder of Regeneron revealed that more information will be provided about the REGN-COV2 but that he is quite pleased by the available result.
A typical cocktail antibody therapy uses engineered antibodies while REGN-COV2 uses monoclonal antibodies that contain protein spike and another antibody that fights other parts of the virus.
“Regeneron seems to have made remarkable progress in the fight against the virus with the cocktail,” stated Jennifer Gommerman, Immunology Professor at the University of Toronto. “The cocktail seems to lessen the period of sickness and improve symptoms. They just need to make more human trials and bigger experiments.”
Former acting CDC director, Dr. Richard Basser, said that treating patients with antibodies is a practical approach but that he needs more information to reach a final conclusion. He stated that many companies looking into vaccines and treatments for the virus only do it to increase profit.
Eli Lilly is also making trials about using antibodies to fight the virus. BIO reports that over 60 antibody treatment trials are being carried out by biotech companies. The co-founder of Regeneron stated that discussion is presently ongoing with the US Food and Drug Administration about adapting REGN-COV2 as an emergency treatment without conducting full trials. The company stated that it is ready to submit more information for consideration.
Co-founder of Regeneron, George Yancopoulous, said in a virtual meeting with stakeholders on Tuesday that authorities will consider whether the information provided is enough to authorize the cocktail for emergency use.