Hyderabad: In an attempt to develop antibody solutions against the novel coronavirus, the University of Hyderabad, along with the CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) have joined hands with Vins Bioproducts to develop an antibody fragment-based immunotherapy to treat COVID-19.

Antibody fragment-based therapy is basically an immunotherapy, where fragments of monoclonal antibodies are selected to bind to a particular protein (often a cell-surface protein). Identical immune cells will be developed in a particular manner to respond to viral antigens such as COVID-19. Exploring alternative strategies to combat the novel coronavirus, scientists have suggested using horses and other higher animals to generate antibodies against SARS-COV2. In this, “antibodies, raised in horses using inactivated coronavirus is fractionated and purified to produce antibody fragments F(ab’)2 for neutralizing corona virus in the patients for recovery,” the statement said.

The collaboration plans on using the F(ab’)2 platform technology which has been providing neutralizing antibodies from horses for a variety of life-threatening pathologies in humans as anti-venoms, anti-toxins and anti-virals.

According to these researchers, plasma-based immunotherapy has its limitations in terms of availability of plasma samples. The antibody fragment-based therapy using horse-based immunoglobins can be an alternative in terms of conducting the study on a larger population, the researchers say.

The UoH team is headed by Dr. Nooruddin Khan, an Associate Professor at the Department of Animal Biology, School of Life Sciences. The Team at CCMB is headed by Dr. Krishnan Harinivas, who is a principal scientist and specializes in the area of molecular virology. In addition, Vins Bioproducts Ltd, is an antisera manufacturing company which was incubated at UoH’s start-up incubator BioNest.

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