New Delhi: The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in collaboration with a Hyderabad-based biopharmaceutical company has developed ‘highly purified antisera’. This ‘purified antisera’ has been prepared by injecting inactivated SARS-CoV2 in horses. Experts are stating that this antisera can be a potential treatment for COVID-19.
“The ICMR and Biological E Limited, Hyderabad, have developed highly purified antisera (raised in animals) for prophylaxis and treatment of COVID-19. It will certainly help in fighting the pandemic COVID-19,” the ICMR said Thursday.
The ‘antisera’ is yet to undergo human clinical trials to establish its safety and efficacy. Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) would be approached soon in this regard, Dr Samiran Panda said Thursday. He is the head of epidemiology and communicable diseases at ICMR.
Antisera are blood serum high in antibodies against specific antigens. They are injected in humans to help kickstart the immune system to fight specific infections. The pre-print version of the study regarding the development of the equine antisera has been posted on ‘Research Square’ platform.
“The study provides evidence of the potential of generating highly purified F(ab’)2 from equines against SARS-CoV-2 that can demonstrate consistent and high neutralisation activity. Further, in-vivo testing for efficacy of this indigenously developed, cost effective product will pave the way to clinical evaluation. Additionally, being a donor independent method, this may prove as an efficient alternative to convalescent plasma for treatment of COVID-19 patients,” the study paper said.
Earlier such measures were used for controlling several viral and bacterial infections.
“Although, plasma recovered from patients experiencing COVID-19 could serve similar purpose, the profile of antibodies, their efficacy and concentration keep varying from one patient to another and therefore make it an unreliable clinical tool for patient management,” the ICMR said in a tweet.
“Standardization achievable through equine sera based treatment modality thus stands out as yet another remarkable public health initiative supported by ICMR in the time of COVID-19,” the medical body added.
As part of the study, 10 healthy horses were immunised with inactivated SARS-CoV-2 virus. After 21 days of immunization, plasma samples were tested. The results of the plasma samples indicated presence of indicated the presence of SARS-Co-V2 specific ‘IgG’ antibodies as detected in ELISA with neutralizing capacity.
The study however, has not yet been peer-reviewed.