The anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody, STI-1499, has been developed by Sorrento Therapeutics (San Diego, CA, USA) which aims to generate an antibody cocktail product that would act as a "protective shield" against SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection and remain effective even if virus mutations render a single antibody therapy less effective over time.
Vials with blood samples are pictured at a clinic providing testing for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and antibodies, after authorities launched free mass screening for residents in the Russian capital, in Moscow, Russia May 15, 2020.
Sorrento has applied for emergency approval of the treatment from the United State Food and Drug Administration.
Sorrento said it plans to request "priority evaluation and accelerated review" from regulators to make the potential treatment available as soon as possible.
After making the claims, stocks for Sorrento skyrocketed by 244%.
Sorrento's market value surged from $US549 million at yesterday's close to roughly $US1.9 billion at Friday's intraday highs.
Sorrento said STI-1499 will likely be the first antibody in the antibody cocktail (COVI-SHIELD) it is developing. Henry Ji, founder and CEO of Sorrento Therapeutics, told Fox News. "If we have the neutralizing antibody in your body, you don't need the social distancing". He added that "you can open up a society without fear". Experts have also already warned about the possibility of a second wave of infections once restrictions are lifted.
However, the antibody was only seen to work in human cells during lab tests has not yet been tested on humans.
The nature of the antibody's efficacy means that Sorrento now believes it will be the first antibody to be included in the cocktail it is developing, which will be made up of a large number of different antibodies that show efficacy in blocking the attachment of the spike protein, in order to provide multiple avenues of protection that are created to remain effective even if the virus mutates in transmission from person to person, or within the same individual.
The antibody has not yet been tested in people, so how it might behave inside the body and its potential side effects are totally unknown.
Among the antibodies showing neutralizing activity, the antibody, STI-1499, stood out for its ability to completely block SARS-CoV-2 infection of healthy cells in the experiments.
Ji also told Fox that they have seen in the laboratory how the antibody "wraps around the virus" then takes it away. He added that if the virus can not get inside the cell, it can not replicate or survive.
The company is looking to develop the antibody as a therapy for coronavirus.