In a new study, researchers have developed a drug that may have the power to stop the coronavirus pandemic.
They believe that the drug could not only shorten the recovery time for people infected but also offer short-term immunity from the virus.
The research was conducted by a team at Peking University and elsewhere.
According to the team, the drug uses neutralizing antibodies produced by the human immune system to prevent the virus infecting cells.
It has been successful at the animal testing stage. When the team injected neutralizing antibodies into infected mice, after five days the viral load was reduced strongly.
The findings suggest that using the antibodies provides a potential “cure” for the disease and shortens recovery time.
The team hopes that the drug will be ready for use later this year and in time for any potential winter outbreak of the virus, which has infected 5.4 million people around the world and killed more than 345,000.
This is very important because the World Health Organization has warned that developing a vaccine could take 12 to 18 months.
The team says the new clinical trials will be carried out in Australia and other countries since cases have dwindled in China.
They believe these neutralizing antibodies can become a specialized drug that would stop the pandemic.
The team also pointed to the potential benefits of plasma—a blood fluid—from recovered individuals who have developed antibodies to the virus enabling the body’s defenses to attack it.
One author of the study is Sunney Xie, the director of the university’s Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Genomics.
The study is published in Cell.
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