The importance of the research and discovery of antibody against the coronavirus by Dutch researchers are becoming increasingly clear. Major pharmacists are interested in the Dutch discovery.
The antibody found by the researchers of Utrecht University and ErasmusMC can stop a coronavirus infection. In order to turn it into a medicine and produce it on a large scale, cooperation with a pharmacist is necessary.
According to principal researcher Berend Jan Bosch, there is interest from two or three large commercial parties. They want to invest millions in the development. The patent will remain in the hands of the researchers. “But such a company can take out a license so that the antibody can end up in the clinic.”
Treatment in six months?
The drug is at the moment at the experimental animal research stage. If that produces good results, “according to the most favorable prognosis, we’ll be able to treat authorised patients on a small scale within six months,” says Bosch.
The news of the discovery of an antibody against the coronavirus came out in mid-March. Bosch carried out research together with fellow researcher Frank Grosveld of Erasmus MC and a team of international scientists. They recently published their findings in the renowned journal Nature.
The antibody was left over from previous research on other coronaviruses such as the SARS and MERS viruses. It was still in the freezer at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Utrecht University. Bosch: “We started working on it and it turned out that one of these antibodies can not only bind to the coronavirus, but can also block the infection of cells.”
The Dutch researchers have an advantage over their international fellow researchers, as they had the old antibody in stock. Recently, Israel has also announced about finding an antibody. “But there they are about three months behind us,” says Bosch.
Finally, Bosch hopes that there can be two usages of the drug. “On the one hand, as a medicine for corona patients and on the other hand, for people who are not yet ill. You can pre-treat them with the antibody. In that way, they are protected the moment they are exposed to the virus. So, it can act as prevention for people who belong to a high-risk group.”
Should there be a vaccine next year, the Dutch drug will still be of value, Bosch expects. “Not everyone reacts equally well to a vaccine. There are also people with underlying diseases who do not produce any antibodies at all”.
Translation: Chaitali Sengupta, who gives ONLINE Inburgering classes.