San Francisco vaccine research company developing antibody treatment to fight COVID-19

California Connection

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KTXL) – A vaccine research company based in San Francisco is developing an antibody treatment to aid patients in their fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sarah Ives is the director of Contract Research at Distributed Bio Inc. She is also the lead scientist of the universal vaccines program, which was recently featured in the Netflix docuseries, “Pandemic.”

“I don’t think anyone could’ve foreseen that the day after the Netflix show was released that Wuhan would have declared it an epidemic,” said Ives.

Since then, Distributed Bio Inc. has been busy developing a COVID-19 antibody treatment.

On Monday, Ives told FOX40 how the treatment would work.

Think of the novel coronavirus resembling a sphere decorated with spikes. The spikes enable the virus to latch onto human cells.

“The way an antibody therapeutic works, an antibody therapeutic comes along and it sticks to the spikes of the virus so that the spikes, basically, can’t latch onto human cells,” explained Ives, “The virus just can never replicate and then will get cleared from the body.”

What sets Distributed Bio Inc. apart from other research groups is they have already identified a set of antibodies that can vigorously block the viral infection, according to Ives.

They have since sent out the lead antibodies to five independent groups to study its effectiveness and they hope to release the results soon.

“Probably three to six months away from having enough material for a clinical trial as of now. But things are looking really promising,” said Ives.

This research continues alongside the company’s original mission of working on a universal vaccine for the flu.

“We are going full force at this universal vaccine program because we don’t want to delay, especially given now the current climate of how important it is to prevent one of these pandemics from happening again,” explained Ives.

Ives said in this tumultuous research environment with lots of unknowns and unanswered questions, there is hope as they work at full speed to make a therapeutic treatment.

“It is reassuring to me, in the scientific community, that there are so many smart people working on this problem,” said Ives. “We have never been more well-equipped in the history of humanity to solve biology-related problems as the way we are now. It will happen, it just will take a little bit of time. But we are on the right path.”

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