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Pitt researchers report promising new finding in fight against COVID-19

PITTSBURGH — Researchers at Pitt’s School of Medicine report finding an antibody component that has shown promise in fighting COVID-19.

According to a news release, the component is 10 times smaller than an antibody and was used to create a drug to rid the body of the coronavirus. The molecule specifically neutralizes the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

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The study was reported in the journal ‘Cell’ and showed the new drug, called Ab8, was very effective in treating the virus in mice and hamsters. The study showed due to the small size of the antibody component, there’s promise in being able to have it administered in alternative ways, such as through inhalation. It also showed signs that it would not have a negative side effect in humans.

Not only could the drug treat COVID-19, it could also keep people from catching it.

“It’s extremely potent, one of the most potent antibodies that has been described. And it appears to be safe,” said Dr. John Mellors. “The goal is to accelerate the development of life saving medicine.”

Abound Bio, a newly formed UPMC-backed company, has licensed the new drug for worldwide development. Human clinical trials are expected to begin in early 2021.