A San Francisco-based doctor featured in the Netflix series “Pandemic” claims he has discovered a potential treatment for the novel coronavirus.
Jacob Glanville, a bioengineer and the founder of Distributed Bio, tweeted that he has found a new antibody therapy that works by “blocking the novel coronavirus from infecting human cells.”
“I’m happy to report that my team has successfully taken five antibodies that, back in 2002, were determined to bind and neutralize, block and stop the SARS virus,” he said during an appearance on “Checkpoint,” a Radio New Zealand program. “We’ve evolved them in our laboratory, so now they very vigorously block and stop the SARS-CoV-2 [COVID-19] virus as well.”
Glanville went on to explain that COVID-19 is “a cousin” of SARS, which stands for severe acute respiratory syndrome. And when that epidemic broke out in the early aughts, researchers created “hundreds of millions of versions” of antibodies for the virus. After having “mutated them a bit,” the doctor said, those antibodies can now be used to treat this new coronavirus.
“So now we know they bind on the same spot as the new virus, COVID-19,” he said. “It binds the spot that the virus uses to gain entry into your cells. It blocks that. At this point, we know it binds the same spot extremely tightly with high affinity.”
The bioengineer equated the antibodies to “a short-term vaccine” that “works immediately.” It would give recipients protection for eight to 10 weeks.
Glanville said the therapy could be given to a patient sick with COVID-19, and “within 20 minutes of receiving the shot,” their body would be filled with the helpful antibodies to fight the disease.
“Those antibodies will surround and stick all over a virus and make it so it’s no longer infectious,” he explained. “You could also give it to a doctor or a nurse or an elderly person and they would then have those antibodies in them that would prevent them from getting infected in the first place.”
The antibodies the California-based doctor has discovered will be sent to U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, which will begin “testing it for its ability to neutralize the virus,” Glanville told Fox News last month.
He is anticipating a human trial this summer.
At the earliest, Glanville said, the antibody treatment could be released for compassionate use — the occasional Food and Drug Administration allowance for the use of drugs outside of clinical trials — by September.
In “anticipation” of the continued research going well, the doctor said his company should “start scaling up a lot more doses, hundreds of thousands to millions.”