DALLAS (NewsNation Now) — Medical researchers with the Baylor Scott & White Clinic in Texas are using antibodies from recovered COVID-19 patients to treat sick ones in a new treatment recommended by the National Institute of Health.
Sandra Bobo is a patient participating in one of Baylor University Medical Center’s studies into a new type of COVID-19 treatment.
“My symptoms are mild, so it would be great if it could stay that way,” said Bobo.
The Texas woman tested positive for the novel coronavirus and is one of dozens participating in the research trial that is testing monoclonal antibodies as a cure.
“My hope is that I can help in some way with the research with this awful virus. And somehow make a difference where it can help people in the long run,” explained Bobo.
Dr. Robert Gottlieb is the principal investigator of multiple COVID-19 therapeutic trials for Baylor Scott & White. He says the latest monoclonal antibody he’s investigating comes from pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly. His research will determine the new antibody’s efficacy rate in adults recently diagnosed with COVID-19.
“Through technology, we’ve been able to isolate and sequence each one of those cells to find the ones that make the very tightest, highest quality binding antibodies,” said Gottlieb. “And we can now take that back into a lab, produce it reproductively and consistently, and administer that early in the disease process to give the body’s immune system a jump start at clearing the virus.”
Gottlieb says vaccines help to prevent the disease, but the therapy can be a backup to help fight the virus.
“We actually have the hard data to say more patients are alive when they receive effective monoclonal antibodies. It decreases hospitalization when used early and it saves lives,” said Gottlieb.
Gottlieb says doctors are also testing out administering the treatment as a shot instead of an IV infusion — which would make the drug more widely accessible.
“This would be a game-changer because we could actually have it more efficient…be more accessible. And we know that the easier it is to access something, the more patients would benefit,” he said.
Although the therapy is in the trial phase, the FDA has given an emergency use authorization for doctors to treat patients with the antibodies if they have a mild to moderate COVID-19 infection and are at least 12 years old or older.