A San Francisco biotech executive featured in the Netflix documentary "Pandemic" announced this week that he and his team may have a cure for coronavirus which is headed to the US military for testing.
Dr. Jacob Glanville of Distributed Bio tweeted on Tuesday that after nine weeks, "we have generated extremely potent picomolar antibodies that block known #neutralizing #ACE2 #epitopes, blocking the novel #coronavirus from infecting human cells."
Anti-#COVID19 #therapeutic update. After 9 weeks we have generated extremely potent picomolar antibodies that block known #neutralizing #ACE2 #epitopes, blocking the novel #coronavirus from infecting human cells. Read more at https://t.co/Fht9buIZkU. pic.twitter.com/2v7NMk7kyZ— Dr. Jacob Glanville (@CurlyJungleJake) April 1, 2020
"I’m happy to report that my team has successfully taken five antibodies that back in 2002 were determined to bind and neutralize, block and stop the SARS virus," he told Radio New Zealand's "Checkpoint" - adding "We’ve evolved them in our laboratory, so now they very vigorously block and stop the SARS-CoV-2 [COVID-19] virus as well."
The new virus is a cousin of the old SARS. So what we've done is we've created hundreds of millions of versions of those antibodies, we've mutated them a bit, and in that pool of mutated versions, we found versions that cross them over.
So now we know they bind on the same spot as the new virus, Covid-19.
It binds the spot that the virus uses to gain entry into your cells. It blocks that.
At this point we know it binds the same spot extremely tightly with high affinity. The next step is we send the antibodies to the military, and they will directly put those on the virus and show that it blocks its ability to infect cells. -Dr. Jacob Glanville (via RNZ)
"Antibodies are attractive because you can give them to a patient right when they're in the hospital like an antiviral. You can also give them to doctors, you could give them to the elderly people to prevent them from getting sick," he added.
When asked directly over Twitter if it's a cure, Glanville replied that it's a "Candidate cure" which requires validation tests and human trials before it can be released.
“Candidate cure.” We need to run some validation tests, grow it up in big expensive batches, and then run a phase I/II human trial. Then we can release it.— Dr. Jacob Glanville (@CurlyJungleJake) April 1, 2020
Glanville says that the treatment could be 'out by September,' however he will need 'funding and efficient GMP manufacturing.'
For GMP and Phase I/II it’s a lot. Government should pay for it. The crowd funding could cover a couple headcount that would help us more efficiently engage the FDA and make sure that we are talking to all global interests to get the drug available everywhere needed.— Dr. Jacob Glanville (@CurlyJungleJake) April 1, 2020
The antibodies will be sent to the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases according to Fox News.