Vaccines have gotten all the attention in the race to fight Covid-19, but there is a major push in the United States to develop antibody therapies to treat coronavirus. There’s so much of a push that some scientists think these treatments may be available this year, even before a vaccine.
Antibodies are the proteins the body makes to fight infection.
Since the Victorian era, scientists have harnessed this natural protection for treatments.
During the 1918 flu pandemic, doctors proved convalescent plasma — antibody-filled blood plasma from patients who recovered from the disease — could fight flu. Convalescent plasma has been used to treat severe flu, MERS and SARS and now some US doctors are starting to see some success treating Covid-19, too.
Since there isn’t enough donated plasma to treat all patients, modern medicine can fill in the gaps and maybe even improve the process. Scientists can create what are called monoclonal antibodies: lab-made antibodies created specifically to target an infection.
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