Celltrion says it’s inching closer to a Covid-19 cure

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Celltrion says it’s inching closer to a Covid-19 cure

Celltrion believes it is drawing closer to a cure for the novel coronavirus, announcing Monday that it has winnowed down the field of antibody candidates believed to be capable of killing the pathogen.

The biopharmaceutical company announced in a statement that it has selected the most potent antibody candidates to neutralize SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. Celltrion said it identified 38 antibodies among the initial 300 types of antibodies identified in its partnership with the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The company said 14 of the 38 antibodies were found to be especially effective in neutralizing the coronavirus. The disease control authority picked Celltrion as a preferred developer for its project to create a monoclonal antibody to treat and prevent Covid-19.

Celltrion said it will now kick off initial development and start efficacy and toxicity testing on animals. With plans to devote all of its resources to the project, the company hopes to start clinical trials on humans in July.

Celltrion claims that it is progressing quicker than the rest of its global competitors in the race to develop an antibody treatment for Covid-19. The company said it will develop a system to monitor mutations of the coronavirus and continually work to find more potential antibodies.

The biopharmaceutical company added that it also plans to develop its own Covid-19 diagnostic kit through partnerships with other companies and complete clinical trials by late next month. The kit works by detecting a protein that only exists in Covid-19 patients.

BY KO JUN-TAE [ko.juntae@joongang.co.kr]
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