By Henric Sundlof • 18 March 2020 • 9:44
The research team at Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam found the world’s first coronavirus antibody by accident when they worked on producing antibodies against the SARS virus, a virus similar to the coronavirus. Untested antibodies from that study were left in a refrigerator. When the corona crisis broke out they decided to test the now chilled antibodies and noted that they responded to the coronavirus.
The antibody still needs to be tested on humans, which is said to take months, but it is still seen as a big breakthrough which can lead to an effective vaccine against COVID-19 as well as an opportunity for people to test themselves at home.
“We are now trying to bring with us a pharmaceutical company that can mass-produce the antibody as a medicine on a large scale. In addition to the development of a medicine, we also want to use the antibody to set up a diagnostic test that everyone can do from home so that people can easily find out if they have an infection or not,” says Frank Grosveld, a professor in the Dutch research group.
“This is the very first antibody that we know of that will block the infection. If this is taken by a patient, then it is expected that the infection can be stopped in that patient,” professor Grosweld concludes.
Scientists around the world are positive and excited about what is seen as groundbreaking news in the fight against the deadly disease. “This looks very promising. It’s exciting, says Matti Sallberg,” professor and vaccine researcher at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.
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