"Pandemic," a Netflix documentary outlining an influenza pandemic, has struck a chord with viewers due to the current coronavirus outbreak. Now, one of the doctors featured on the project claims to have found a possible cure for the illness that currently plagues the world.
Jacob Glanville, a San Francisco doctor who runs the biotech company Distributed Bio, tweeted about his latest discovery - a new antibody therapy. "After 9 weeks we have generated extremely potent picomolar antibodies that block known #neutralizing #ACE2 #epitopes, blocking the novel #coronavirus from infecting human cells," the tweet reads.
In an interview with Radio New Zealand, Glanville explains, "I'm happy to report that my team has successfully taken five antibodies that back in 2002 were determined to bind and neutralize, block and stop, the SARS virus."
"We've evolved them in our laboratory, so now they very vigorously block and stop the SARS-CoV-2 [COVID-19] virus as well," he continues.
The antibodies will be sent to the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. They will then test the antibodies directly against the actual virus, hoping to determine that they work as intended. If they do, human trials will come later, Fox News reports.
Glanville described the therapy as "sort of like a short-term vaccine, except it works immediately." Where vaccines take time to develop an immune response, antibodies would bind to and stop the virus more instantaneously.
There are multiple possibilities of how to use the antibodies if they function properly.
"You could give it to a patient who's sick, experiencing COVID-19, then within 20 minutes of receiving the shot, their body is flooded with those antibodies. Those antibodies will surround and stick all over a virus and make it so it's no longer infectious," Glanville explains.
He goes on to say, "You could also give it to a doctor or a nurse or an elderly person and they would then have those antibodies in them that would prevent them from getting infected in the first place."
However, there is a catch. The antibodies would only protect a person for 8 to 10 weeks, whereas a true vaccine would function as a more longterm solution.
Should the antibody therapy be successful, it would be released in September at the earliest.