What to expect from future antibody therapies

First successes in the search for antibodies that specifically stop the virus from multiplying. Expert: “Precise as a sniper”.

“Breakthrough”. Two research groups took advantage of this word these days Germany and Israel, which – like many others around the world – have one goal: human antibody to find the most targeted the novel Prevent SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus from docking and multiplying in body cells.

How can antibody the virus to stop?

antibody are small proteins that the immune system uses to ward off infectious agents such as viruses and bacteria. “They cling to different parts of the crown-shaped spike protein like a swarm Virus surface on, “says Lukas Weseslindtner, Head of the Laboratory for Antibody Diagnostics at the MedUni Center for Virology Vienna. “But their effectiveness is very different then.” There is a very special place on this protein with which that virus docks on the body cells, then penetrates into them and multiplies there. “This position is the key of the virus to the cell lock. ” antibodythat is exactly this binding site between virus and cell blocking are most effective. However, can antibodythat are in other places of the Virus surface are less or even completely ineffective.

What exactly did the researchers do?

They systematically have thousands of different human beings antibody Artificially produced – they used the genetic information to produce cells in cell cultures. In the first step, the scientists then tested whether they even thought about that Bind corona virus. In the second, whether it is precisely this “key point” of the virus and prevent the pathogen from opening the lock on the cell. These antibody can only in one place Virus surface dock – that’s why they’re called monoclonal antibody. “They bind precisely and not in several places. They are precise like a sniper.” Several research institutions could now antibody find those in the lab who Virus multiplication to stop. “But tests on humans are still missing.”

What is the difference to therapy with plasma donations from convalescents?

“With the” convalescent donation “(see right) you always have a mixture of many different ones Antibodies“, explained Weseslindtner. “Some of them can Virus multiplication braking or stopping, others not. So it may be that plasma of a donor works better than that plasma of another. “It will be examined beforehand in what concentration such virus “neutralizing antibody“are present in the donor plasma. However, it is difficult to predict how well the recipients will respond. And:” For donors with a mild course of the disease, the amount is more neutralizing antibody much less. “In contrast, one would with the artificially produced monoclonal Antibodies always administer a precisely defined dose.

Would that be an additional therapy option?

“This would give you an alternative to conventional plasma donation.” The question is when such a drug should be administered during the course of the disease: “Many patients who have been in the intensive care unit for a long time already have high levels of neutralizing agents Antibodies – Additional administration of antibodies may no longer help. Maybe the assignment has to be earlier – that still needs to be researched. “

There is also a third way: pharmaceutical companies concentrate their donations from plasma antibody and develop an antibody drug. It can also contain antibody concentrates from several donors per patient. The company is also working on this Takeda in Vienna.

Who is wanted as a plasma donor

“It was a very nice moment,” says the infectiologist Robert Krause from the MedUni Graz: He is referring to the moment when the first recovered Covid-19 patient recently attended the LKH University Hospital Graz who was treated with blood plasma. The man was in the hospital for five weeks. The plasma of a healthy person after a Covid 19 disease brought the positive turn in a situation where the doctors were “with their backs to the wall”. It was similar in two other patients Graz. 20 therapies with “convalescent plasma” have already been carried out across Austria. It is still an experimental process, many questions are still open.

Who can donate

So far around 200 people have recovered from Red Cross plasma donated, says the doctor Ursula Kreil, deputy Head of the blood donation center in Vienna. These are the requirements:

  • A Covid-19 disease confirmed by a mucosal swab and subsequent PCR test.
  • People who were seriously ill themselves (high fever) are particularly suitable.
  • 28 days free of symptoms.
  • In the blood donation center only that will be plasma collected (the remaining blood components are returned to the body), whole blood donation is obtained with mobile blood donation campaigns.
  • In any case, prior contacting 0800 190 190 is necessary to clarify the admission criteria and the procedure on site.

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