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Sunday, January 23, 2022
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UTSW COVID-19 Antibody Treatment Study Moves to Phase 3

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Exterior view of west campus building of University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. | Image by Smiley N. Pool, The Dallas Morning News

As part of a national effort to keep COVID-19 patients out of hospitals, researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern (UTSW) are studying a polyclonal antibody treatment. The treatment is called SAB-185 and is the first of its kind in the ACTIV-2 Outpatient Monoclonal Antibodies and Other Therapies Trial. The trial is sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and led by the AIDS Clinical Trial Group.

SAB-185 is made up of several different COVID-19 antibodies created by cows that have been genetically engineered to produce human antibodies. After the cows generate these antibodies, their blood is collected, and the antibodies are separated and purified. 

“The healthcare system is overwhelmed,” said Dr. Mamta Jain, a professor of internal medicine at UTSW. “And I think that if we can find something that can be administered as an outpatient and keep people out of the hospital, that’s important.”

According to data from the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council, hospitalizations that are related to COVID-19 make up an estimated 17% of hospital bed capacity in the North Texas trauma service area. In order to treat patients with COVID-19 who are not hospitalized, Regeneron has been producing monoclonal antibody treatments, even though their effectiveness against the Omicron variant is still being tested. 

The SAB-185 polyclonal antibody treatment has now moved into Phase 3, where it will be compared to Regeneron’s treatment. Participants will have to qualify to participate in the program, the criteria for which include testing positive for COVID-19 within the past ten days and experiencing symptoms within the last eight days. Researchers will randomize which participants receive either Regeneron’s therapy or SAB-185 and administer the treatments through IV infusion or injection.

“People living in North Texas who have recently been diagnosed with COVID-19 and are not hospitalized have the opportunity to make a huge contribution by participating in this study,” said Dr. Mamta Jain.

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