Monoclonal Antibodies, A Potential Cure to Covid-19?
Written by Ahaan Anand, a grade 9 student.
While some sources say that there might not be any cure for this lethal disease in the near future, some suggest that a potential cure namely, Monoclonal Antibody Therapy for this virus has been found!…
Written by Ahaan Anand, a grade 9 student.
Covid-19 has infected millions all over the world, put economies into a depression-like situation, has made millions lose their jobs and most importantly has made countless people lose their loved ones (30 million people have already lost their jobs in the US).
While some sources say that there might not be any cure for this lethal disease in the near future, some suggest that a potential cure namely, Monoclonal Antibody Therapy for this virus has been found! Monoclonal antibodies can only be formed through the process of plasma therapy.
To understand what Monoclonal Antibodies are we must first understand what antibodies are.
Antibodies are proteins used by plasma in the cells to neutralize any pathogen (pathogen is anything that can produce diseases). Antibodies are made automatically in our body as soon as any infection enters. Our body makes antibodies for infections such as common cold, malaria and even cancer.
Antibodies are a vital part of our life as they fight all diseases which enter the body. One of the most important features of any antibody is that they stay in the body even after the disease is cured.
We must now understand what plasma therapy is and how it is related to antibodies.
Plasma is a liquid which is found in blood of humans and is the highest component of the human blood constituting approximately 55% of the blood. Plasma is perhaps the most important part of the human blood. It contains water, enzymes, salts and most importantly the antibodies which fight diseases.
Plasma therapy is a procedure of taking out blood from a recovered patient’s body, taking the plasma out from the blood and putting all the antibodies inside a patient who is not being able to produce these antibodies in the hope that some of these antibodies will go and help in fighting the pathogens.
Plasma therapy has proven to be one of the most effective procedures against all types of diseases since about 120 years and hence there is no reason for it to fail now. But plasma therapy is a cumbersome procedure; when all antibodies are being put inside a recovering patient’s blood stream (suppose 100) then only 1 out of those will be useful against the body’s battle against the virus (leaving the rest 99 in the recovering patient’s body) (source: The Print).
To overcome the difficulty in administering plasma therapy and to increase the efficacy of the therapy, Israeli scientists at Israel Institute for Biological Research in Ness Ziona, Israel (IIBR) have claimed to have found an alternative to plasma therapy: Monoclonal Antibodies Therapy.
We will now understand Monoclonal Antibodies Therapy.
Monoclonal Antibodies are the specific type of antibodies which are used to fight Coronavirus. Israeli Minister claims that monoclonal antibody has the potential to neutralize the SARS-CoV2 virus (source: live mint). Israel isolates coronavirus antibody in ‘significant breakthrough’: Minister (source: Times Of India).
The structure of the Coronavirus is such that the spikes coming out of the spherical body of the virus get attached to the healthy cells and the virus starts multiplying exponentially. These monoclonal antibodies, when injected into the body of the recovering patient, get attached on to the protein spikes of the virus and deactivate them. Once these spikes are deactivated, the ability of the virus to attach itself onto healthy cells is lost and hence the virus becomes ineffective inside the body.
The race for getting the cure is going on at a break-neck speed across the world. While Companies in the US and Israel are trying to find a cure using monoclonal antibodies, Oxford university in the UK in collaboration with Astrazeneca, a US based company has been trying to make a new vaccine to treat patients suffering from this virus. Other medications like US manufactured Remdesivir has been declared for emergency use in the US (source: the guardian) and as I write this article, Italian scientists have claimed to develop a vaccine that has successfully generated antibodies in mice that work on human cells (source: Times of India). Efforts like these are being made every day by companies all over the world.
In between all this we must all remember to keep our cool and be positive. This virus, while having many disadvantages has the biggest advantage of getting long lost family time back. Parents are at home with their children, watching movies with them, teaching them, learning their true potential and most importantly, everyone is taking care of each other.
We must also remember that the war we are currently fighting is against a faceless enemy and when we all come together to tackle it, we will be able to defeat it once and for all. It is just like Mother Teresa said: “I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.”
This too shall pass.
Thank you for your time!
Stay Healthy. Stay Happy!
Written by Ahaan Anand, a grade 9 student of Modern School
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