Drug That Could Treat And Prevent COVID-19 Licensed By New UPMC-Backed Company For Development

A tiny antibody discovered in a Pittsburgh lab may be a huge medical breakthrough in the fight against the coronavirus.

UPMC held a press conference Tuesday to explain more about their possible breakthrough: a tiny antibody component that can neutralize the coronavirus.

To date, this is the smallest molecule to completely and specially neutralize the virus that causes COVID-19. It’s been used to construct a drug for use against the virus.

The antibody component is 10 times smaller than a full-sized antibody and has been used to create a drug known as Ab8 for use as a therapeutic and preventative against SARS-CoV-2, says a report published Monday in the journal Cell.

The researchers reported that Ab8 is “highly effective” in preventing and treating SARS-CoV-2 infection in mice and hamsters. There are also good signs that it won’t have negative side effects in people.

Doctors say this drug could be used for more than a therapy for COVID-19, but that it could also be used to keep people from getting infected with the virus.

Ab8 has been licensed for worldwide development by Abound Bio, a newly formed UPMC-backed company. Clinical trials, which require FDA approval, will start in the beginning of 2021.

Dr. John Mellors explained that this isn’t the same as a vaccine.