How one company is fast-tracking development of potential plasma-based treatments for the coronavirus
Medical biotech company Emergent BioSolutions is one of the many health industry players turning its efforts towards addressing the current global coronavirus pandemic. Their work includes a two-pronged effort to pursue plasma-based treatments that could help lessen the impact of COVID-19 on health care systems, with a fast-tracked development timeline that could see human clinical trials start as soon as this summer.
The company is simultaneously working on two different therapeutic approaches, including one that uses plasma (a liquid that is the majority component of blood) sourced from humans, and one that sources it from horses. Both involve development of antibodies consisting of different immune cells that all target the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which work by boosting the body’s existing immune response in patients to fight off infection. The treatment based on human plasma would be suitable for use for patients who are hospitalized and showing severe symptoms, and also potentially for providing some measure of protection for at-risk people including frontline healthcare workers, while the horse-derived version would be aimed specifically at addressing those severe hospitalized cases.