In the United Kingdom, studies are ongoing for a new antibody therapy that has the potential to provide acute immunity to individuals following exposure to Covid-19.
It is assumed that after exposure to the virus, the medication will help prevent illness.
As part of a new research named Storm Chaser, University College London Hospitals NHS Trust (UCLH) is exploring the use of an antibody that could give long-term safety to patients when it would be too late for a vaccine.
A second clinical trial, called Provent, has also been conducted by researchers to examine the use of the antibody in people who may not benefit from vaccination, such as patients with compromised immune systems or those at elevated risk of infection with covid 19 due to factors such as age and current medical conditions.
Professor Stephen Powis, NHS England National Medical Director, said, “The continuing contribution of the NHS to the pioneering global effort to combat Covid-19 is remarkable.”
“These two clinical trials are an important addition to the testing of new therapeutic approaches, as antibody treatment may provide an alternative for patient groups who cannot benefit from a vaccine, such as immunocompromised patients.”
UCLH has vaccinated 10 individuals at its latest Vaccine Research Center in Storm Chaser so far after the trial entered its third phase on Dec. 2, with the goal of evaluating the new treatment in 1,125 individuals worldwide.
Health care professionals, students living in community shelters and patients who have recently been introduced to someone with Covid-19, as well as long-term care persons, military and industrial staff such as factory workers, are important categories in the trial.
The antibody, known as AZD7442, was developed by the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, which has also developed a vaccine pending approval by the Regulatory Agency for Medicines and Healthcare Products at Oxford University (MHRA).
“We know this antibody combination can neutralize the virus, so we hope that giving this treatment by injection can lead to immediate protection against the development of covid-19 in people who have been exposed to the virus – when it would be too late to offer a vaccine.” said UCLH virologist Dr. Catherine Houlihan, who is leading the Storm Chaser report.
In the meantime, the elderly and others in need of treatment are being recruited to participate in the Provent research, as well as individuals with conditions such as cancer and HIV.
“We want to reassure anyone for whom a vaccine isn’t working that we can offer an alternative that is just as protective.”We want to reassure anyone for whom a vaccine does not work that we can offer an equally effective alternative.