The great hope for drug treatments against Covid-19 – the monoclonal antibodies – are failing against variants of the virus, such as those that have emerged in South Africa and Brazil, scientists have found.
There have been high expectations of the drugs. One, made by Regeneron in the United States, was given to Donald Trump and may have played a part in his recovery. It is being trialled in hospital patients in the UK.
But to the dismay of those who work on therapies against the disease, all three leading contenders – Regeneron’s, and drugs from Eli Lilly and GlaxoSmithKline – fail against one or more of the variants.
The antibodies have huge advantages as treatments, said Nick Cammack, who leads the Covid-19 therapeutics accelerator at Wellcome. They are derived from cloning a human white blood cell and mimic the effects of the immune system. They are very safe, specifically engineered to target the virus and their use looked highly promising in the early stage of disease to stop it progressing.
“So basically, most of the front-running antibody therapies for Covid which are the front-running therapies for Covid, I should say – so the great hope – are lost to the South African and Brazilian variants.”
GlaxoSmithKline’s treatment still works against those variants, but not against the one that emerged in Kent in the UK. But with the coronavirus mutating as much as it has done already, Cammack does not expect any of the current drugs to to be effective for long.
Researchers now need to find “conserved” regions of the virus that do not mutate to target with antibodies. “I think it’s pretty clear, whilst we’ve seen South Africa, UK and Brazil variants, there will be others. And we need mass sequencing, genetic sequencing of the virus around the world, which will reveal where the changes are made and also reveal where conserved regions are,” he said.
Image Credit: Riccardo Antimiani/EPA
Brain stimulation paired with a nose spray comprised of nanoparticles can increase recovery after ischemic stroke in an animal model, according to scientists from Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University and other universities in China. The nasal spray is [...]
Increasing drug resistance could leave us powerless to fight infections we now consider routine, and scientists are urgently searching for answers. It was just a urinary tract infection (UTI). Helen Osment, a fundraiser from Hertfordshire, had [...]
Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science & Technology (DGIST, President Yang Kook) Professor Hongsoo Choi’s team of the Department of Robotics and Mechatronics Engineering collaborated with Professor Sung-Won Kim’s team at Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital, [...]
Tiny nets woven from DNA strands can ensnare the spike protein of the virus that causes COVID-19, lighting up the virus for a fast-yet-sensitive diagnostic test—and also impeding the virus from infecting cells, opening [...]
Roughly two decades ago, a strategy called optogenetics emerged to control brain activity with lasers. It uses viruses to insert genes into cells that make them sensitive to light. Optogenetics has revolutionized neuroscience by giving researchers [...]
Shigella bacteria, which causes Shigellosis, is the primary cause of bacterial diarrhea and diarrheal death among juveniles under five years of age. Because of the antibiotic resistance of Shigella strains, no commercial vaccines are available to date. [...]
Scientists have built microscopic robots equipped with electronic “brains” that are capable of walking autonomously. A team from Cornell University in the US developed the solar-powered bots as part of research into a new generation of [...]
Blood samples from patients with long COVID who are still suffering from fatigue and shortness of breath after a year show signs of autoimmune disease, according to a study published today (Thursday) [...]
High-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC) is among the deadliest human cancers and its prognosis remains extremely poor. An article published in Advanced Science explored the self-therapeutic properties of gold nanoparticles to identify a molecular axis that [...]
Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) have a broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity and lyse microbial cells by interaction with biomembranes, offering great potential in designing new therapeutics. The antimicrobial resistance (AMR) caused due to overuse of [...]
Tumor cells are notoriously good at evading the human immune system; they put up physical walls, wear disguises and handcuff the immune system with molecular tricks. Now, UC San Francisco researchers have developed a [...]
Hyperspectral microscopy is an advanced visualization technique that combines hyperspectral imaging with state-of-the-art optics and computer software to enable rapid identification of nanomaterials. Since hyperspectral datacubes are large, their acquisition is complicated and time-consuming. [...]
Malignant brain tumors are cancerous growth in the brain with the possibility of spreading to other parts of the central nervous system (CNS). Brain tumors are highly invasive and have devastating consequences, poor prognosis, [...]
An ultrathin invention could make future computing, sensing and encryption technologies remarkably smaller and more powerful by helping scientists control a strange but useful phenomenon of quantum mechanics, according to new research recently published [...]
Methacrylate-based materials are often used in bone cement and dental resins. However, they have high failure rates as they undergo damage within ten years, impacting the quality of patient’s life and increasing healthcare costs. [...]
Early diagnosis of an infectious viral disease can help the patients and health care professionals monitor the outbreaks accurately and provide treatment at the early stage of a disease, avoiding any detrimental consequences. The [...]