UVA testing antibody ‘cocktail’ for COVID-19 prevention efforts

UVA testing antibody ‘cocktail’ for COVID-19 prevention efforts
Dr. William Petri and other UVA researchers are hosting the antibody trials at UVA Health. (Source: WVIR)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Researchers at the University of Virginia are hoping to make a huge impact on COVID-19 prevention efforts with their new antibody cocktail trial, saying it could be the next best thing to a vaccine.

“The idea is that we can prevent infection with people who are being exposed in their homes with a spouse or a roommate who has COVID-19," UVA Infectious Diseases researcher Dr. William Petri said.

Dr. Petri and other researchers are conducting antibody research trials to see if the ‘cocktail’ given to President Trump can actually prevent the virus from spreading.

“We know that its effective for treating, and what’s exciting about this study at UVA is to see, can it actually prevent infection," Petri explained.

Researchers are in need of more participants for the study. Subjects will need to be living with someone in their home who has the virus and plans on staying with them in the same household for a little over a month. They will then be given either the antibody treatment or a placebo. It is a double-blind study, meaning that both participants and researchers will not know which is administered until the end of the trial.

Although participants could get the virus during the trial, receiving the antibody treatment will not hurt them.

“Antibodies are very, very safe, we use antibodies, therapies, for many different things like rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease," Dr. Petri said.

If the treatment works, he says it could be our best option to fight off the virus until a vaccine is approved and widely distributed.

“Since we already know that those antibodies treat COVID-19, they actually decrease the amount of virus, they decrease the days of symptoms, we know that the vaccines are being properly designed to make the same antibody response," Petri said.

Thousands of antibody treatments have already been made and could be ready to use in just a matter of weeks.

“We’ll have this antibody cocktail to treat COVID-19, probably next week because the application has been made to the FDA for emergency use authorization, the data is there that it works to treat. I think that we’ll probably know within one to two months whether it also works to prevent COVID-19, and then I think it’ll be a similar process for really rapid FDA approval," Dr. Petri said.

If you qualify for the study, you can call for more information at 434-924-9691. Financial compensation is available.

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