Monoclonal antibodies could stop Covid infections in their tracks, yet high prices and complex manufacturing could limit their reach
Scientists are awaiting the results of the first drugs specifically designed to target Covid-19 and are quietly optimistic that the data, set to be revealed next month, will herald a major breakthrough.
If confirmed as safe and effective the drugs, known as monoclonal antibodies, could have a dramatic impact on efforts to halt the pandemic and reduce the death toll, say experts.
Monoclonal antibodies are already used to treat conditions including cancer, arthritis and Ebola. They are laboratory produced antibodies specific to the disease in question and delivered via injection. But there’s a major drawback: they are expensive to manufacture and distribute.
For Covid-19, scientists hope the treatment will prevent the virus from reproducing inside human cells and could be used in the early stages of disease, to prevent an infection from worsening and turning Covid-19 into something akin to a bad cold.
This contrasts to the two drugs so far proven effective against Covid-19, the antiviral remdesivir and the steroid dexamethasone, which can only be used to treat severely ill patients.
The first trial results for monoclonal antibody therapies are expected to be published next month, but already experts are optimistic.
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