17 Nov 2021 17:11

RAS Engelhardt Institute of Molecular Biology develops monoclonal antibody drug for Covid-19 - director

MOSCOW. Nov 17 (Interfax) - The Engelhardt Institute of Molecular Biology of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) has developed a monoclonal antibody drug to treat Covid-19 patients, institute director Alexander Makarov said.

"A year ago, we announced the development of one of the first coronavirus antibody test systems, which helped look for donors for blood transfusions to treat severe cases. Based on this test system, we along with medics of the Federal Medical-Biological Agency and scientists from the Siberian Academy of Sciences developed a medication on the basis of monoclonal antibodies that neutralize coronavirus, including its Delta and Gamma variants," Makarov said on Wednesday at a conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the development of genetic technologies.

The drug's high effectiveness in neutralizing the virus was confirmed by experiments in human cell cultures and infected hamsters that received antibodies, he said.

"A dose of antibodies reducing the viral load by 100,000 times was selected, which is on par with the results of the use of the well-known U.S. drug Regeneron," Makarov said.

Gamaleya Center head Alexander Gintsburg told Interfax earlier that the clinical trials of a Covid-19 monoclonal antibody drug are expected to begin after the New Year holidays. This medicine will be used first and foremost to treat risk-group patients such as pregnant women and people suffering from obesity and diabetes "who have a high risk of contracting Covid-19," he said.

Gintsburg told Interfax on September 7, 2020, that there was a need to provide financing for a new project of the Gamaleya Center, which had registered its Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V by that time. It is a monoclonal antibody drug for Covid-19 patients, which is able to drastically reduce the probability of fatal outcomes in Covid-19 cases. Patients with Covid-19 may receive ready antibodies as part of this therapy, in an approach that is expected to help patients' immune systems fight the infection until their own antibodies are generated.

Gintsburg said on November 11, 2020, that the Gamaleya Center had received all necessary funds and hoped to register its Covid-19 monoclonal antibody medicine in a year.

Therapy using monoclonal antibodies, or mAbs, is widely used in medicine today to treat a variety of diseases, including cancer and different inflammatory conditions.