Antibody Effective at Blocking Coronavirus from Human Cells: Sorrento Therapeutics

A major breakthrough to find a solution to the Coronavirus pandemic comes from a laboratory in San Diego

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Sorrento Therapeutics believes it has found the first antibody to be used in a cocktail that it's calling COVI-SHIELD. They say it is so effective it could even be used as a stand-alone therapy.

About two months ago, the Sorrento team started analyzing hundreds of antibodies from their library and found about a dozen that blocked the virus that leads to COVID-19 from infecting human cells. Now, from that dozen, they say they've found one that is 100% effective after a period of four days of incubation.

"Given the very effective data that we've seen, how potent this antibody is, we are very confident this could actually work out," said. Dr. Mark Brunswick from Sorrento Therapeutics.

They haven't tested it on humans yet, but they plan to use this antibody with a combination of a few others to provide a cocktail that could work on people if the virus mutates.

"So, if the virus mutates, you have different angles with different antibodies attached to it, so that way one of the mutations, one of the antibody, the other two still works," said Dr. Henry Ji from Sorrento.

Sorrento plans to start ramping up production, but some scientists caution only 10% of drugs that enter clinical trials get approved by the FDA.

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"What's key to remember though about the results from Sorrento is that this is laboratory data, they haven't actually tested this drug in actual human beings. So once that happens, it'll be great, but we need to see safety and efficacy data," said Dr. Lipi Roy, NBC News medical contributor.

After working around the clock almost seven days a week, Lisa Kerwin from Sorrento said the discovery gave her hope.

"We want to provide hope and that's all we really want. Everybody is scared," she said. "We want to be able to not have to go to social gatherings, go to birthday parties just go back to school...without having to worry about catching this virus."

Sorrento hopes to have an application to submit to the FDA by the end of the year for approval. They say scientists there are still working on developing a vaccine for the coronavirus as well. They plan to submit their full results for a peer-reviewed publication shortly.

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