A team of Chinese scientists from Tshinghua University in Beijing found a possible ‘extremely effective’ cure for the coronavirus.
Several antibodies have been isolated, with the team claiming they have the ability to prevent the virus from entering cells.
Zhang Linqi, one of the scientists, revealed that a drug made with the antibodies could be more effective than the present methods used.
The team had begun analysing antibodies taken from recovered patients back in January 2020, and it has isolated over 200 antibodies with a ‘strong’ ability to bind with the virus.
Speaking to Reuters, Zhang explained that they had conducted a test to check if the virus could be stopped from entering cells.
Out of the 20 antibodies tested, four were noted as ‘exceedingly good’ at obtaining the required result.
If everything goes on well according to plan, developers would go on to manufacture these antibodies for testing, starting with animals and then on humans, in six months.
Usually, it takes two years for a drug to be approved, but with the coronavirus taking over the world, the process can be sped up.
The team in partnership with Brii Biosciences in a bid to fast track various intervention possibilities.
Zhang detailed the significance of antibodies, explaining that they have long been proven effective in the world of medicine.
Antibodies have been used effectively to treat cancer, infectious diseases and autoimmune diseases.
The team’s goal is to find the most powerful antibodies and merge them to reduce the chances of the coronavirus mutating, according to Reuters.
The main result would produce a drug for yet to-be infected people to prevent them from getting the coronavirus.
Hong Kong University expert Ben Cowling commented that, while the road ahead remains a long one, this development is essential.
“There’s a number of steps which will now need to be followed before it could be used as a treatment for coronavirus patients,” he said.
But it’s really exciting to find these potential treatments, and then have a chance to test them out. If we can find more candidates, then eventually we’ll have better treatment,” he added.
Some specialist warn that it could take time for such a drug to become widely available, with Cowling saying a number of steps will need to be followed before it can be used on patients.
The coronavirus has infected more than 883,200 people worldwide, killing 44,156. A total of 185,377 have recovered, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.