UVA antibody trials suggest treatment successfully prevents COVID-19 symptoms and infections

(Source: CDC via CNN)
Published: Feb. 3, 2021 at 6:24 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Clinical trials at the University of Virginia suggest Regeneron’s antibody cocktail treatment is 100% effective in blocking symptomatic COVID-19 infections.

Dr. William Petri, a trial leader at UVA, said the treatment will greatly help prevent the spread of the virus between household members, especially for those who may be caring for infected family members.

“The general idea is that an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure, so that’s what this study is doing. It’s giving the antibody as soon as there’s a potential exposure to prevent household transmission.”

The treatment, Petri explained, is the only treatment known to prevent both symptoms and infections of COVID-19 after exposure.

“It sort of gives your immune system a head start. You’ll eventually make these antibodies anyway, but by giving them very early, even at the time that you’re exposed to the infection, they’ve been shown to prevent symptoms of COVID-19. They also prevent infection in about half of the patients that receive them,” Petri said.

The cocktail is also expected to ward off variants of the virus by using two different antibodies.

“Two different antibodies against two different variants of the spike-like protein, that’s much harder for the virus to mutate around, and so I think that’s probably part of the reason why it’s so effective,” Petri explained.

Clinical trials show the treatment limits the amount of virus transmission and the length of infection, shortening the amount of time the virus can spread from one person to the next.

“Where the antibody cocktail failed to prevent infection, the infection is much shorter lived, it’s much less virus, and no symptoms, at all, most importantly,” Petri said.

Although the cocktail may not provide full immunity from the virus, it can work alongside vaccines to prevent its spread and harmful effects.

“Even when we get the vaccines to everyone, which I think will be happening soon now there are soon going to be four vaccines for COVID-19, there are still going to be people who were not vaccinated or didn’t have a response to the vaccine so there will always be a place for this kind of therapy,” Petri stated.

The antibody cocktail is federally funded through the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, which runs Operation Warp Speed. In November, the US FDA granted Emergency Use Authorization of the therapy.

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