Monoclonal antibodies for Covid-19: What do we know so far?


AS countries continue to rollout vaccines to prevent Covid-19 and achieve herd immunity, scientists continue to work on developing treatments for the disease.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Trusted Source, European Medicines Agency (EMA), and other regulatory agencies around the world are evaluating monoclonal antibodies for use as a therapy to treat Covid-19.

Monoclonal antibodies gained media attention with the news in October 2020 that Donald Trump had received the experimental Regeneron antibody treatment. They have since progressed to allow more widespread use.

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This article provides an overview of the current state of monoclonal antibodies for Covid-19 treatment.

Medical News Today also reached out to Dr. Jens Lundgren, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, to provide expertise and comments throughout this article.

Dr. Lundgren led a trial for the Eli Lilly and Company antibody and is a spokesperson for Regeneron.

How do monoclonal antibodies work?
The body’s immune system generates antibodies as a defense mechanism against unfamiliar molecules.

The scientific term for such unfamiliar molecules is antigens. Molecules from bacteria and viruses can act as antigens, prompting the production of antibodies.

Antibodies bind to antigens. This tells specialized cells of the immune system to kill the invading pathogen.

The bodies of the majority of people who recover from Covid-19 produce antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Scientists have found that these antibodies persist for at least 5–7 months after the infection.

However, scientists can also produce these antibodies in a laboratory setting to be infused into the blood.

Monoclonal antibodiesTrusted Source are identical copies of an antibody that targets one specific antigen.

Scientists can make monoclonal antibodies by exposing white blood cells to a particular antigen.

They can then select a single white blood cell or clone and use this as the basis to produce many identical cells, making many identical copies of the monoclonal antibody.

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