A new treatment for severe COVID has emerged, involving giving patients an antibody “cocktail” to reduce the risk of death in those who are immuno-compromised.
But what are antibodies and how do they help us to fight against COVID-19? Let’s first talk about antigens:
An antigen is a molecule that stimulates an immune response. Types of antigens include viruses, bacteria, venom, and allergens. Each antigen has distinct regions on its surface called antigenic determinants. These fit and bind to receptor molecules of complementary structures
When a foreign antigen enters the body, it triggers a response from the body’s white blood cells. These white blood cells then begin to produce antibodies to fight against the foreign antigens.
Antibodies are Y-shaped proteins produced by your immune system’s B cells. B cells attack viruses and other toxins by making specific antibodies that are complementary to the antigenic determinants on the surface of the antigen. The antibodies lock onto their target antigens and break them down, stopping the infection.
There are many types of antibodies found in your body, each specific to a single type of antigen. They play a vital role in the immune system’s fight against infection.
A person who has had COVID-19 might have antibodies present in their blood. This means that, should they encounter the virus again, their bodies will already have some degree of resistance to the virus. However, the degree of immunity differs between individuals with some people unable to produce antibodies at all, making their fight against COVID-19 significantly more difficult.
A new treatment for COVID-19
A new treatment for people with severe COVID has emerged, potentially saving hundreds of lives. It involves giving the patient a combination of two antibodies via intravenous infusion that have been generated in a lab. These antibodies bind to the virus and prevent it from infecting the patient further.
In a trial including almost 10,000 UK patients, the treatment significantly reduced the risk of death, the length of hospital stays and the likelihood of needing a ventilator. This will give the sickest patients a better chance of surviving COVID-19.
It will only be given to individuals who have not produced their own antibodies to defend against the virus, such as those with compromised immune systems.
Read more about this revolutionary new treatment by clicking here.