Dr Bruce Kirenga, a researcher and Executive Director at the Makerere University Lung Institute told URN in an interview that they have already been approached by two pharmaceutical companies offering them manufactured antibodies to use while conducting trials.
Ugandan scientists are planning to start a laboratory
manufacturing of targeted antibodies that can kill SARS-COV-2, the virus that
causes the novel coronavirus disease COVID-19.
Dr Bruce Kirenga, a researcher and Executive Director at
the Makerere University Lung Institute told URN in an interview that they have
already been approached by two pharmaceutical companies offering them
manufactured antibodies to use while conducting trials.
He says the manufacturing will start at the end of the
randomized trial they are currently conducting to establish the efficacy of
using convalescent plasma from recovered patients to treat hospitalized cases.
//Cue in; “Already
Cue out... Outside the body.”//
Kirenga explains that antibodies that they are already
collecting in the blood plasma trial are infection-fighting proteins made by
the immune system that can bind to the surface of viruses and prevent them from
infecting cells. In the laboratory, he says they are able to reproduce synthetic
versions of these antibodies which are referred to as monoclonal antibodies.
//Cue in; “We have
Cue out…ahead of us.”//
Kirenga says Uganda is lagging as many countries have
already explored possibilities of having this treatment added to their plans and clinical trials have already started. For instance, last month, the US-based National Institutes
of Health (NIH) launched a trial to test the effectiveness of using monoclonal
antibodies to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
Also, a number of pharmaceutical companies including AstraZeneca
that is involved in vaccine research have embarked on antibody trials in
humans. Referred to as an "almost a sure bet" against
COVID-19, by the United States
infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci, monoclonal antibodies have already been endorsed by leading scientists.
While the effectiveness of antibodies in treatment has not
yet been confirmed anywhere in the world, Kirenga says scientists around the
world are trying to come up with as many solutions as possible for treatment as
they await an effective vaccine.