EXCLUSIVE — A California-based biopharmaceutical company claims to have discovered an antibody that could shield the human body from the coronavirus and flush it out of a person’s system within four days, Fox News has exclusively learned.
Later Friday, Sorrento Therapeutics will announce their discovery of the STI-1499 antibody, which the San Diego company said can provide “100% inhibition” of COVID-19, adding that a treatment could be available months before a vaccine hits the market.
“We want to emphasize there is a cure. There is a solution that works 100 percent,” Dr. Henry Ji, founder and CEO of Sorrento Therapeutics, told Fox News. “If we have the neutralizing antibody in your body, you don’t need the social distancing. You can open up a society without fear.”
“This puts its 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 health care and pharmaceutical industries have been scrambling to develop viable vaccines and antibody treatments as the number of COVID-19-related deaths is expected to hit 100,000 by June 1.
Many medical researchers are scrambling to find antibodies, optimistic that they could provide a remedy or preventative care in less time than it would take to develop a vaccine. Antibody treatments have been used for the past 100 years as a means to stave off infections, but their effectiveness has had mixed results. Finding a successful antibody or convalescent plasma treatment for COVID-19 could present challenges.
Multiple companies and universities around the world have been exploring the use of antibodies to treat coronavirus.
Encouragingly, the antibody discovered by Sorrento belongs to a class called ‘neutralizing,’ or binding antibodies.
They fully and specifically bind to the part of the virus that fits like a lock in a key with parts of human cells.
According to Dr Derek Lowe, an organic chemist who writes for Science Translational Medicine, these both block the virus and sound the alarm to the rest of the immune system to mount a response, too.
These are preferable to other types of antibodies which don’t entirely block the virus’s effects, and could accidentally make it easier for it to enter human cells.
Dr Lowe notes that neutralizing antibodies, in general, also have the potential to act like ‘temporary vaccines,’ preventing coronavirus infection in people who haven’t already contracted it.