Taipei, The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) is planning to launch a public-private partnership to develop and produce antibody treatments against COVID-19, according to the National Health Research Institutes (NHRI).
Speaking to the media on Friday, NHRI Vice President Sytwu Huey-kang (司徒惠康) said the treatments, which will be used to treat COVID-19 patients and also provide short-term immunity for healthy individuals, are seen as a vital stopgap treatment until vaccines become widely available.
Sytwu said the NHRI, Academia Sinica, National Taiwan University Hospital and Chang Gung Medical Foundation each began working to develop COVID-19 antibody treatments last year, but their efforts have been largely uncoordinated.
To expedite the process, the CECC’s research division has planned an initiative to increase cooperation between the various institutions, while also recruiting drug manufacturers, so that any viable treatments can reach the market quickly, he said.
According to Sytwu, antibody treatments involve injecting antibodies that will attach to the spike protein of the virus that causes COVID-19, preventing it from attaching itself to cells and thereby limiting the progression of the infection.
Many of these treatments, such as the one administered to U.S. President Donald Trump last year, use a cocktail of multiple antibodies that target different sites on the virus, increasing their overall efficacy, he said.
Because antibody treatments can also give an estimated one to two months of immunity, they could also potentially be used by healthy people who have to travel abroad but have not yet had a COVID-19 vaccination, he said.
As they are also extremely safe, the treatments could additionally be used to protect people with a history of allergic reactions to vaccines, or those whose immune systems are otherwise compromised, according to Sytwu.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel