Research: UK scientists work on therapy that gives Covid-19 immunity
Share article:
Share article:

Research: UK scientists work on therapy that gives Covid-19 immunity

© Belga

Scientists in the United Kingdom are about to start trials of a new therapy that could stop someone infected with the coronavirus from developing symptoms of Covid-19, the Guardian reports.

The therapy involves a cocktail of monoclonal antibodies, created in the laboratory and administered via injection, which experts say could save countless lives by stopping a person infected with the virus from developing symptoms.

The person would remain infectious, and would still have to quarantine, but without symptoms. The difference would have a huge effect on medical services by putting the brakes on a disease process that can lead to weeks in hospital, often in intensive care, and in many cases leading to death.

The treatment, if proved successful, could be given to hospital patients and care home residents as a measure to prevent outbreaks if one case of infection is discovered.

It would also be useful for the likes of university students, among whom the disease can spread rapidly because they live and socialise together. But it would also be applicable as a precaution in families where one member becomes infected.

If we can prove that this treatment works and prevent people who are exposed to the virus going on to develop Covid-19, it would be an exciting addition to the arsenal of weapons being developed to fight this dreadful virus,” said Dr Catherine Houlihan, a virologist at University College London Hospitals NHS trust, who is leading a study into the drug.

The drugs has been developed by the trust and AstraZeneca, which also has a vaccine waiting for approval from the British regulator in the coming days, and from the European regulator some time after.

Meanwhile, a clinical trial will test the treatment on volunteers at several British hospitals, as well as 100 sites across the world.

The new treatment could confer immunity for six to 12 months, but does not take the place of a vaccine, Dr Houlihan said. A vaccine offers immunity to the wider population, to prevent them becoming infected. The antibody treatment, on the other hand, is for people who have been exposed to the virus, to prevent them from developing disease symptoms.

In addition, the treatment offers immediate protection, whereas the vaccines currently at or near approval – from Pfizer and AstraZeneca – only confer immunity about a month after injection.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Belgium wants to recover €420 million in wrongfully paid out coronavirus aid
The Belgian State intends to recover €420 million of unduly paid Covid-19 aid, La Libre Belgique reported on Thursday. The electronic Council of ...
New offshore wind farm officially opened
Despite being operational since the end of 2020, the SeaMade offshore wind farm was officially inaugurated on Wednesday by Prime Minister Alexander ...
Contact tracers have no time for calls, only texts, amid rising cases
Contract tracers will no longer make phone calls to the high-risk contacts of people who test positive for the coronavirus beginning from Wednesday, ...
Belgium holds on to top spot in FIFA rankings despite recent losses
Once again, Belgium's Red Devils have held onto their position at the top of the world football rankings, according to an update released by the ...
Why the fight for transgender rights is polarising Europe 
Year after year, Samuel De Schepper would ask Santa Claus to bring him a penis for Christmas. Born female and attending an all girl’s Catholic ...
Proximus pushes for high-speed internet in Brussels and Wallonia
Fifteen municipalities in Wallonia should soon have access to high-speed internet through the rollout of fibre optics in the region, telecoms giant ...
World’s largest chocolate warehouse opens in Flanders
On Thursday, Barry Callebaut – the largest global chocolate processor and manufacturer – opened the world's largest chocolate warehouse in Lokeren, ...
Belgium in Brief: Equal Opportunity To Dance
There's a phrase where I'm from, more often said in jest nowadays, but it came to my mind this morning: "Ye dancin'?" (Are you dancing?), one ...
Farmer discovers cocaine in banana boxes bought in Brussels
A Flemish farmer who purchased boxes of bananas at the market in Brussels on Tuesday came home to discover large amounts of cocaine packed among the ...
Changes to speed cameras increase likelihood of a ticket
Changes to the way speed cameras work in Flanders and Wallonia will increase the likelihood of receiving a ticket when cars pass them above the ...
Why Belgium is regulating sex work
After decades of confusing rules and hypocritical policy, Belgium is finally regulating sex work by removing prostitution from the criminal law. ...
Nightlife testing centre opens in central Brussels on Friday
A new coronavirus testing centre set up by the Brussels By Night Federation will open on Place Poelaert in Brussels on Friday, aiming to administer ...