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Scientists at the prestigious Peking University in China say that a drug being tested in a Chinese laboratory could not only shorten the recovery time for those infected with Covid-19 but could even offer short-term immunity. They believe it could "put a halt to the coronavirus pandemic." The director of the Beijing Advanced Innovation
Center for Genomics at the university told AFP that the drug was successful at the preliminary testing stage for animals. "When we injected infected mice with neutralizing antibodies, the viral charge was reduced by a factor of 2,500 after 5 days. That means it has a therapeutic impact.
The experimental medicine utilizes neutralizing antibodies developed by the human immune system and extracted from the blood of 60 recovering patients to protect cells from becoming contaminated by the virus. A research study of the team, published in the scientific journal 'Cell' on Sunday, suggests that using the antibodies could provide a potential "cure" for the disease and shorten recovery times. 'Cell' has been a peer-reviewed scientific journal since 1974 which publishes research papers across a wide range of disciplines.
"Our expertise is genomics of single cells, rather than immunology or virology. When we realized that the genomic approach of a single cell could find the neutralizing antibody that we were thrilled with.
The medicine is supposed to be available for use later this year just in preparation for any possible winter epidemic of the virus that has infected almost 5 million people worldwide and just killed more than 324,000 people. Human study is anticipated in Australia and other countries as cases in China have dwindled, providing less research opportunities.
"Planning is underway for a clinical trial. The idea is that these antibodies that neutralize will become a sophisticated medicine that can save the pandemic.
In the human trial level, China now has 5 possible coronavirus vaccines, but the World Health Organization has cautioned that producing a healthy, cable vaccine could take 12 to 18 months.
Scientists refer to the possible advantages of plasma from healed persons that have formed antibodies against the infection that can be targeted by the body's defenses. More than 700 patients have been diagnosed with plasma therapy in China, a procedure that officials claim has "very positive clinical results," while such plasma remains in short supply.
It is not a new approach to incorporate antibodies in drug treatments and has been successful in treating several other viruses such as HIV, Ebola, and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.
Ebola medication Remdesivir has been deemed a promising early cure for Covid-19 but there was no substantial change in mortality risk.
More than 100 Covid-19 vaccines are in the works worldwide, however as the vaccine production phase becomes more complex, China expects the latest medication would be a quicker and more effective route to stop the coronavirus' global march.