Recently, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and Serum Institute of India (SII), Pune announced an agreement with Merck, a science and technology company, to develop SARS-CoV-2 neutralising monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), which will be used to address the Covid-19 pandemic.
- IAVI is a non-profit scientific research organisation dedicated to addressing urgent global health challenges. It is headquartered in New York, USA.
- SII is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer.
- Monoclonal Antibodies:
- Antibodies are proteins produced naturally by the immune system that target a specific foreign object (antigen). They are called monoclonal Antibodies (mAbs) when they are produced by clones derived from a single parent cell.
- They are man-made proteins that act like a human antibody in the immune system. They are made by cloning a unique white blood cell.
- mAbs have monovalent affinity, it binds only to the same epitope i.e. the part of an antigen that is recognized by the antibody.
- They are designed to perform many roles, like they can be used to carry drugs, toxins, or radioactive substances directly to affected cells.
- mAbs are used to treat many diseases, including some types of cancer.
- mAbs and Covid-19:
- Neutralising monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against SARS-CoV-2 were co-invented by IAVI and Scripps Research.
- They are widely considered to be promising candidates for Covid-19 treatment and prevention.
- Encouraging results for Covid-19 antibody treatment have emerged from preclinical research and from initial clinical trials.
- mAbs also have the potential to play an important complementary role to Covid-19 vaccines.
- It can be used both for treatment and potentially for prevention, especially for those individuals who, due to age or medical conditions, may not benefit from vaccination.