There are three classes of approaches that come down to antibodies to treat COVID-19.
Transcript of video
Many existing antiviral medications are being tried in COVID-19 coronavirus infection. I think there are over 360 clinical trials now registered. You and your colleagues also work on medicines to treat COVID-19. What is your view on the most promising medications in development now? You work together with your colleagues on some medications for COVID-19. We are working to identify compounds from libraries that have been shown to be safe in humans. We are targeting three different sets of three different points in the viral replication cycle to do so. These are early-stage work. We are just in the process of identifying compounds and then validating that work. So I think that’s earlier stage work. There are some compounds already available that are further along in human clinical trials. I think many people are familiar with remdesivir. And I don’t have inside information on its efficacy except to say that at least it’s mechanistically clear how remdesivir should work. Remdesivir’s chief problem is likely to be side effects associated with its use. It’s not clear whether remdesivir can be useful in the later stages of infection when it’s not clear that the virus is driving the disease at that point. Another difficulty that remdesivir has, it is not orally available, it has to be provided in a drip. This unfortunately precludes its use as a prophylactic. So, I think if I were to put more emphasis on where there is, even more, hope and usefulness, I would suggest that antibodies and antibody-like molecules will be there. They’re useful for a few reasons. One is that antibodies are typically quite safe. They can last for 30 days or 40 days. Antibodies against COVID-19 can protect an individual for 30 or 40 days after a single injection, in contrast to a drug like remdesivir that has to be injected hourly or daily. And so they can serve as prophylaxis for our healthcare workers, for example, and for those who are especially prone to or susceptible to severe disease from coronavirus infection. Also, antibodies are consistently effective against viruses. I would be confident that if I had a specific titer of antibodies in my body, I would not suffer from severe disease from the COVID-19 coronavirus. The difficulty with this class of therapeutics and prophylactics is that they are a challenge to produce. And antibodies are behind small molecules in their availability for human clinical trials. But I anticipate that will change in the next month. I’m looking forward to antibody-based therapy as being a more certain way to protect from and to treat a COVID-19 infection than any of the drugs that are now available.