A potent new antibody cocktail has been identified to fight the virus that causes coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) and is now being used in clinical trials, according to new research out of the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) published in Science.

COVID-19 is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). According to the World Health Organization, there has been more than 8 million cases of the virus as of June 17 and more than 440,000 deaths. Antibodies are proteins in the immune system produced in response to viruses such as SARS. Antibody therapies have been used since the 19th century, according to the press release. The 2 antibodies were selected by isolating antibodies from plasma donated from recovered COVID-19 patients and genetically engineered mice.

The 2 antibodies selected out of 4 identified as particularly potent. Researchers then determined which 2 would be the most powerful combination.

"An important goal of this research was to evaluate the most potent antibodies that bind to different molecules in the spike protein so they could be mixed together as a treatment," said study co-author and post-doctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology Stuart Weston, PhD, in a press release.

The cocktail is currently being used in a clinical trial funded by Regeneron. The trial will investigate whether the therapy can improve COVID-19 patient outcomes. It is also being tested as a preventative therapy in healthy individuals who have a high risk of infection, such as health care workers or those exposed to the virus.

Reference
Researchers identify potent antibody cocktail to treat COVID-19; (News Release) College Park, MD; June 16, 2020; EurekAlert; Accessed June 17, 2020