A monoclonal antibody treatment to heal Covid-19 patients and prevent infection is being developed in Siena, Tuscany. The announcement was made on television programme “Che tempo che fa?” by Professor Rino Rappuoli, Chief Scientist and Head External R&D di GSK Vaccines in Siena.
Professor Rino Rappuoli, Chief Scientist and Head External R&D di GSK Vaccines in Siena
The pioneering scientist of vaccines, who also developed the vaccination for Meningitis B, is in charge of the MAD (Monoclonal Antibody Discovery) Lab of the Fondazione Toscana Life Sciences, which has been working on research to identify and isolate monoclonal antibodies to combat the Coronavirus since the spring.
“We and only a few other laboratories in the world are developing these monoclonal antibodies, which are natural substances found in the blood of individuals who are recovering from the virus,” explained Professor Rappuoli during the TV programme. “In partnership with the Istituto Spallanzani and Siena Hospital, we have taken blood from some convalescents and from their blood we isolated the cells that produce these natural defences. We chose the best ones, the super powerful ones, and we are expanding them at an industrial level, in order to inject them into people.”
One injection is likely to provide six months of immunity from the virus.
“We want to begin clinical trials before Christmas, finish them by February and have the treatment ready by March, the first tens of thousands of doses and then increase them,” commented Rappuoli, emphasizing that US President Donald Trump had this same treatment because this type of experimentation is already at an advanced level in the United States.
The MAD Lab team recently identified MAD0004J08, the most powerful monoclonal antibody against Covid-19. The researchers assessed the antibody’s ability to bond with the spike protein and disable the virus, as well as the yield in terms of the development and production of the treatment.
by Ilaria Giannini for InToscana.it: original Italian article here