Predictions about coronavirus vaccines have become almost deafening in recent weeks, but whether or not the first doses of a vaccine arrive this year, some people will continue to get sick. A medication that could prevent people from progressing to the point that they need a hospital bed or ventilator could be a bridge to a vaccine, or it could be the lifeline that could give people confidence to return to normal life even once vaccines are developed.
In the search for such a countermeasure, monoclonal antibodies, a Nobel Prize-winning biotechnology developed in the 1970s, have become the first line of attack, pursued by at least 50 companies and academic teams. That includes the two-antibody cocktail churned out by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals’ hamster cells in Rensselaer, N.Y.
Promising but preliminary data has bolstered the chorus of hope around monoclonals from top health officials.
They are “a real best chance of being