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University of Maryland School of Medicine researchers assessed various human antibodies to determine the most potent combination to be mixed in a cocktail and used as a promising antiviral therapy against the novel COVID-19 virus.

The research indicates the quick process of isolating, testing, and mass-producing antibody therapies against any infectious disease by using both genetically engineered mice and plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients.

The antibody cocktail evaluated by the researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine will be utilized in treating COVID-19 patients in a clinical trial that was recently launched. To produce the so-called monoclonal antibodies for an antibody cocktail to fight COVID-19, the researchers have to identify which antibodies fight the novel COVID-19 virus most effectively first.

This involved determining which antibodies could bind most effectively to the spike protein found on the surface of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that caused the novel COVID-19 virus.

The team also evaluated thousands of human antibodies from plasma donations from recovered COVID-19 patients and also generated antibodies from mice genetically engineered to produce human antibodies when infected with the virus.

Matthew Frieman, Associate Professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine said that the ability of the research team to rapidly derive antibodies using these two methods enabled them to test their selected antibodies against the live virus to determine which had the strongest antiviral effects.

The combination mixture containing the two antibodies is now being tested in a new clinical trial sponsored by Regeneron that will investigate whether the therapy can improve the outcomes of COVID-19 patients.

Dean E. Albert Reece, Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs and Professor of University of Maryland School of Medicine said that their researchers will continue to provide vital advances on all fronts to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic and ultimately save lives.

(Source: Science Daily, 2020)