Dr. Keerthana Ramesh
Monoclonal antibodies may be a better choice than convalescent plasma for treating COVID-19
26 August 2020
A team of researchers from the Netherlands demonstrated that prophylactic treatment with a high dose of human convalescent plasmaor by using concentrated monoclonal antibodies could protect against disease following severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in an animal model. However, no protective effect was observed with a ten-fold lower dose of convalescent plasma.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), caused by SARS-CoV-2, is characterized by a wide array of symptoms such as fever, anosmia, dyspnea, cough, and muscle pains. In severe cases, infection is often complicated by acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) that leads to respiratory insufficiency and, potentially, multi-organ failure.
Therefore, an effective treatment is of utmost importance, as the virus continues to circulate in many regions of the world (increasing the risk of future infection waves), and the quest for the effective and safe vaccine is still ongoing.
Several studies have already identified neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 as a potential component of protective immunity. However, only a handful of studies to date have focused on evaluating the efficacy ofconvalescent plasma with antibodies to protect or prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection or COVID-19 in vivo.
Moreover, different human monoclonal antibodies against this putative agent have also been characterized for prophylactic and therapeutic use. But although efficient neutralization of SARS-CoV-2 has been proven in vitro, their efficacy has not been evaluated in living organisms.
Consequently, the researchers from Erasmus Medical Center and Utrecht University in the Netherlands used one specific monoclonal antibody and two doses of human convalescent plasma (differing ten-fold in the antibody concentration) in a hamster model to assess the efficacy of prophylactic antibody treatment in moderate to severe SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia.