Home / News / India /  ICMR, Biological E develop horse antiserum for covid-19 treatment

NEW DELHI: The Indian Council of Medical Research on Thursday announced that it has, along with Hyderabad-based Biological E, developed blood serum of horses that contain antibodies against covid-19 after conducting a study which highlighted it as.

The bio-medical research agency said that it could be a potential treatment and prevention of covid-19 and an alternative to convalescent plasma therapy, which is blood serum of humans who have recovered from the respiratory disease.

“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," 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 ICMR has also published a pre-print of a research study on Research Square. The study was co-authored by Gajanan Sapka, a scientist at ICMR’s National Institute of Virology in Pune, and Anil Yadav, head of Biological E’s anti-sera department, along with about a dozen other officials from NIV and Biological E. The study has not yet been peer-reviewed.

As part of the study, 10 healthy horses were immunized with inactivated SARS-CoV-2 virus and after 21 days of immunization, plasma samples were tested, and results of the plasma samples indicated presence of SARS-CoV2 specific antibodies.

“Equine hyper-immune serum overcomes the challenge of limited availability of convalescent plasma from recovered patients. Monoclonal antibodies on the other hand are laborious and expensive to generate," the study said.

Purified antibodies obtained from hyper-immune horse serum has been an effective and time- tested approach in various infections such as diphtheria, tetanus, rabies, as well as bites from snakes, scorpions and spiders. More recently, it has been used to treat infections such as the first SARS in 2003, MERS, Ebola and avian influenza virus.

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