Regeneron Pharmaceuticals of Tarrytown, New York, is working on an antibody treatment that uses the virus itself. The company genetically modifies mice to have human immune systems and then exposes them to part of the virus. The mice then build up antibodies to fight the virus.
Scientists have isolated the antibodies, as well as antibodies from humans who have recovered from COVID-19, and they will select the top two antibodies to create a cocktail that is injected in the patient. The two antibodies will target different parts of the virus and may help protect against multiple viral variants. In theory, that means the drug could still be effective if the virus mutates.
All coronaviruses have a protein called a spike protein on the surface of the virus cell, which bonds the virus to the host cell. This drug aims to target the spike protein to block it from interacting with the host cell and thus neutralize the virus.