Three local cos working on antibody drugs for Covid

Mumbai: Indian drug makers have started working on antibody drugs to cure Covid-19, a class of medicines that US president Donald Trump hailed as a “miracle” treatment. At least three Indian companies are in various stages of developing these drugs, which will deliver antibodies to an infected person to help them fight the disease, which is said to have originated in China 10 months ago and has killed over 1 million people globally, one-tenth of them in India.

Bharat Serums, Intas Pharma and Biological E along with ICMR are working on antibody therapies for Covid-19 in India.

Antibodies are the first line of defence that the body unleashes in response to a pathogen. The drugs that are currently used to treat Covid-19 can only reduce the viral count in a patient. Antibodies are similar to vaccines, not only acting as an antiviral but also providing at least short-term immunity against the disease.

Ahmedabad-based Intas plans to use antibodies from the blood of patients who have recovered from Covid-19 to develop its drug that it says can be given to patients of all blood groups.

Intas will provide purified and enriched preparations of Covid-19 neutralising antibodies in high concentration, free from blood-transmitted viruses and other plasma proteins, VP Suma Ray told ET in August. The company started trials for moderate Covid patients using this mechanism and the study results are awaited.

Mumbai-based Bharat Serums is using antisera from horses to generate antibodies, a method used in manufacturing rabies and diphtheria vaccines. “The equine antibody is a tried and tested route and is polyclonal, which makes its efficacy better than monoclonal antibody drugs,” Sanjeev Navangul, CEO of Bharat Serum, told ET. The company expects its trial results by next month.

Polyclonal antibodies are made from different immune cells, while monoclonal antibodies are clones of a specific parent cell.

Equine serum is considered viable as antibodies in horses can be raised in a short period with proof of concept within four months


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