Sorrento Valley biotech company finds antibody to fight COVID-19

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – A San Diego company is taking a big leap ahead in the race to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Sorrento Therapeutics just announced it has found an antibody that can keep the virus from infecting healthy cells.

Work in the company’s Sorrento Valley lab is suddenly in high gear after researchers announced last week, they found a single antibody that can block the COVID-19 virus, with surprising effectiveness.

The work began several months ago, when scientists at the company searched through a library collection of 1 billion antibodies to determine which ones had the characteristics to suppress the COVID-19 virus.

Researchers set out to determine if there was one antibody or more that would bind with the protein in the virus and knock the virus out.

After looking through the one library of one billion antibodies, scientists sent the most promising candidates to a medical research lab at the University of Texas. At the Texas facility, researchers introduced the antibodies to the virus in animal cells to see if the antibodies could keep the virus out.

One antibody, called ST1-1499 stood out, because it completely blocked the virus, by 100 percent. The San Diego company is currently working on finding two or three more antibodies that can work in conjunction with ST1-1499 to form a drug cocktail.

Executives at Sorrento Therapeutics are calling the cocktail, “Covi-shield.” In the next phase, the company will work on manufacturing the antibody so it can be used for human trials starting in July or August.

With approval from the Food and Drug Administration, Sorrento Therapeutics hopes its antibody treatment which will be delivered by injection will be ready for the market by the middle of 2021.

Categories: Coronavirus, Local San Diego News