According to a report by Asian Scientist Magazine, one of the two antibodies in the cocktail used to treat US president Donald Trump for COVID-19 was developed using blood samples from three patients in Singapore.
REGN-COV2 was developed by US-based biotechnology company Regeneron. It is a combination of two antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.
This use of convalescent plasma has been shown to work in other serious virus infections including severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers) as well as H1N1 influenza or swine flu .
In May this year, a joint commentary by three experts, Associate Professor David Lye, director of the Infectious Disease Research and Training Office at NCID, Dr Benjamin Seet, group chief research officer of the National Healthcare Group and Professor Leo Yee Sin, executive director of NCID, revealed that Regeneron has produced an antibody cocktail that has been shown to be effective in the laboratory.
The commentary also said that through an agreement with NCID, blood samples from recovered Covid-19 patients from Singapore contributed towards pre-clinical research and development of this cocktail.
The experts also said at that time that they had also initiated talks for Singapore to potentially participate in clinical trials planned for the coming months.
In September 29, Regeneron published the first data from its trials.
The antibody cocktail REGN-COV2 is said to reduce viral load and the time to alleviate symptoms in non-hospitalized patients with COVID-19. REGN-COV2 also showed positive trends in reducing medical visits.
“The greatest treatment benefit was in patients who had not mounted their own effective immune response, suggesting that REGN-COV2 could provide a therapeutic substitute for the naturally-occurring immune response. These patients were less likely to clear the virus on their own, and were at greater risk for prolonged symptoms,” said George D. Yancopoulos, M.D., Ph.D., President and Chief Scientific Officer of Regeneron.