Health Care

Drug could end the pandemic: scientist

Drug could end the pandemic: scientist”

Chinese scientists have been developing a drug they believes has the power to stop the Covid-19 pandemic in its tracks - even without a vaccine.

The outbreak was first reported in China late past year before spreading across the world, prompting an worldwide race to find treatments and vaccines.

A drug being examined by scientists at China's prestigious Peking University couldn't exclusively shorten the restoration time for these contaminated, however even supply short-term immunity from the virus, researchers say.

According to the research team, led by Sunney Xie, director of the Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Genomics at Peking University, antibody drugs, as a kind of biologics, have been successfully applied to treat viruses like AIDS, Ebola, and MERS.

The potent neutralizing antibody could be used to develop drugs for both therapeutic intervention and prophylactic protection against COVID-19, Xie told Xinhua in an email interview.

The drug makes use of neutralising antibodies - produced by the human immune system to forestall the virus infecting cells - which Xie's staff remoted from the blood of 60 recovered sufferers.

The results of the study, published in the journal Cell, show that the use of antibodies reduces the potential treatment and recovery time of COVID-19. "When we realized that the single-cell genomic approach can effectively find the neutralizing antibody, we were thrilled".

Sunney Xie further said that clinical trials are being planned and will take place in Australia and other countries, as the number of cases in China is staggering.

"If the COVID-19 pandemic reappears in the winter, our neutralising antibody might be available by that time", Xie added.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) said that the vaccine will take 12 to 18 months to be ready.

In all, over 100 COVID vaccines are being developed by various companies and research organisations across the world.

Scientists have also pointed to the potential benefits of plasma - a blood fluid - from recovered individuals who have developed antibodies to the virus enabling the body's defenses to attack it.

More than 700 sufferers have acquired plasma remedy in China, a course of which authorities stated confirmed "very good therapeutic effects". This new treatment eliminates the intermediary, so to speak, by injecting antibodies against the virus directly into a person's bloodstream.

The study showed that if the neutralizing antibody was injected before the mice were infected with the coronavirus, the mice stayed free of infection and no virus was detected.

Xie said his researchers had "an early start" since the outbreak started in China before spreading to other countries.

The researchers said that this would provide short-term protection to medical personnel and was expected to extend the period to several months.

Think of it like recruiting a bunch of microscopic soldiers to fight the virus on your behalf rather than training your own soldiers the new techniques they need to use to beat it. Xie's team is already preparing for human trials.

According to Johns Hopkins University over 4.7 million people have been infected, while over 3.15 lakh casualties have been reported globally.

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