‘Pandemic’ series scientist, Dr. Jacob Glanville, is developing antibody therapy drug to treat coronavirus (COVID-19) patients
As coronavirus pandemic claimed over 10,000 lives around the world, the race is on to find cure for the deadly virus. So far, there are only three major types of treatments: antiviral drug, antibody solution and vaccine. However, vaccine does not provide the immediate relief for people who are already infected with the virus. Experts say it may take between 12 to 24 months before the vaccine becomes available. Some are going as far as saying it could be 2022 before we see a COVID-19 vaccine.
The other challenge with vaccine is that it cannot be given to someone who is already sick because the vaccine takes six weeks or more to build up the immunity in your body before your body starts protecting you. Vaccine is only good for healthy people to prevent them from getting the deadly disease. For that reasons, antiviral drugs and antibody therapeutic are the only other treatments for people who are already sick.
That is why Dr. Jacob Glanville and his team at Distributed Bio, are working on creating antibody to treat people that are already sick. Their idea behind the antibody his team is working is to bioengineer antibodies to fight COVID-19 by evolving known antibodies against SARS coronavirus that caused a pandemic scare about 20 years ago.
The idea is to then extract five SARS-CoV-specific antibodies and mutate them into 1 billion different types to see whether there are any antibodies that bind to COVID-19. If the antibody matches the antigen sufficiently well, it will be mass-produced, he anticipated. Human trials could begin as early as this summer. If all goes well, a drug could be ready by this fall. Dr. Glanville confirmed mass production can be launched in August or September if his team identifies a potential antibody by April 6.
Dr. Jacob Glanville is a computational immuno-engineer and co-founder and CEO of Distributed Bio, a San Francisco, California-based immuno-engineering startup company that provides computational tools, antibody libraries, and more. The company is developing breakthrough technologies to drug previously challenging targets like GPCRs, ion channels, pMHC complexes, condition-specific binders, anti-idiotypes, and broadly neutralizing viral epitopes. Dr. Jacob Glanville is also featured in the Netflix series ‘Pandemic,’
In answering question from a local TV station about whether the United States is on the same as South Korea, China and Italy, Dr. Glanville answered: “We are no longer on the same trajectory that Italy experienced. There is still an outbreak. We will still experience doubling for the next few weeks, and that’s because this is a silent disease and many many subjects, they don’t experience symptoms but they can be infectious.”
Below is video of Dr. Glanville explaining how the antibody therapy drug his company is working on.