In the race to find some way to beat back the coronavirus that has swept the planet, changing the lives of billions of people across the globe, many companies are reporting positive findings. One such company is Centivax, who says their antibody medicine is showing great promise in treating and fending off infection — in hamsters anyway.
The company has been working on developing antibodies that would work as a treatment for people who are already infected with coronavirus, which is something that a vaccine cannot do. It’s also a measure to stave off the virus for short periods of time — a matter of months — until it wears off and another dose would be needed. Centivax’s antibody treatment is showing success on both fronts.
The Treatment Showed a 97% Reduction of the Virus in the Lungs of Infected Hamsters Including Hamsters That Were Immunocompromised
In a press release sent out by the company, Centivax wrote:
To put this into context, in science, before medicines are tested in humans, they must demonstrate safety and efficacy in animals that “model” the disease of interest (in this case, COVID-19). When the Centivax medicine was given to hamsters that were already sick with COVID-19, within 24 hours the hamsters experienced a 97% reduction of virus in the lungs, as well as significantly reduced lung damage. When given before the hamsters were exposed to COVID-19, it protected them from getting sick.
Another promising finding of the research, which was independently and simultaneously verified by two national laboratories, is that the treatment even worked to vastly improve the lung damage in immunocompromised hamsters, according to Centivax.
The findings are significant to how the treatment could work on humans because according to Dr. Sawsan Youssef, Chief Science Officer of Distributed Bio and Centivax, “Hamsters, like humans, can become infected and fall ill after exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This is why hamsters are considered the gold standard to evaluate the effectiveness of therapeutics to treat and prevent the novel coronavirus in humans.”
Dr. Glanville Says the Next Step Is to Start Human Trials
In just 9 weeks, our team engineered antibodies blocking the novel #coronavirus from infecting human cells. Join @CurlyJungleJake & @sives54 for this @CRiverLabs webinar to learn about our tech + how it can speed up your therapeutic antibody programs https://t.co/qHLyIlOIZz pic.twitter.com/JPRUNFnnys
— Distributed Bio (@distributedbio) July 8, 2020
Dr. Jacob Glanville, Founder, CEO, and President of Centivax and Distributed Bio said, “This is a watershed moment for a COVID-19 therapy. These two world-class laboratories came to the same robust conclusion: that we had generated neutralizing antibodies that successfully protected hamsters from the novel coronavirus. Independent validation of this kind is a cornerstone of good medical science. We move forward now with confidence into rapid clinical development of our human therapy.”
According to Glanville, rapid clinical development means trials in a hospital setting.
Glanville said, “These positive antiviral results in the hamsters provide support for the use of our Centivax antibody in a hospital setting as a rapid treatment for severe, moderate, and mild COVID-19 patients.”
The company says they’re very focused on safety, using information gleaned from the 2002 SARS outbreak to inform their research, which is in the same family as the current coronavirus.
Dr. David Gangemi, Director of Virology at Centivax, said in a press release that the many measures they’ve taken to ensure the safety along with the viability of their treatment “enable Centivax antibodies to have outstanding safety profiles, be manufactured more easily and less expensively, be more shelf-stable, and possibly be delivered more conveniently, such as though subcutaneous injection outside a hospital environment.”
Glanville said, “The objective is to deliver a best-in-class therapeutic with an optimized therapeutic profile to make a medicine I would give to my own family.”