The scientists claimed that the drug could not only decrease the recovery time of the coronavirus infected patients but also help them build a short-term immunity against the virus, as per the Agence France Presse report. The drug has passed the animal testing stage with flying colours, Sunney Xie, Director of the university's Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Genomics, told AFP.
Sunney Xie said that they injected the drug into the mice and the viral load was reduced by a factor of 2500 after five days. "That means this potential drug has a therapeutic effect", Xi added.
Messenger RNA prompts body cells to produce so-called antigens, molecules on the surface of viruses, that spur the immune system into action.
A study on the team's research, published Sunday in the scientific journal Cell, suggests that using the antibodies provides a potential "cure" for the disease and shortens recovery time. Their expertise on single-cell genomics proved to be effective in finding this antibody rather than immunology or virology, according to the report.
Xie says they are preparing to conduct a clinical human trial of the drug in Australia and other countries and hoping to have it ready and approved for widespread public use later this year.
Coronavirus: AstraZeneca to make 30m vaccine doses - if it works
If a vaccine is identified, production should be "globally distributed" to guard against "vaccine nationalism", she said. A total of 3,142 people tested positive for the virus in the past day, taking the count of the total cases to 243,303.
He said that the planning for the human clinical trials is underway.
Since the new coronavirus pandemic started in earnest, spread across China, and then leaped borders to nearly every country on Earth, we've wanted one thing: a vaccine.
The researchers hope that these antibodies can be used to develop a drug that will fight off existing coronavirus infections while the world patiently waits for a vaccine to be developed, tested, and distributed. Not less than 700 patients received the plasma therapy in China that had good therapeutic effects, as authorities say.
The use of antibodies in the form of medicine is not a new method, but has been successfully tested during global epidemics of other diseases such as HIV, Ebola and MERS‐CoV. In addition to the drug's ability to shorten the time taken to recover from COVID-19, it has also offered short-term immunity from the coronavirus, said the researchers. The drug is being tested at China's Peking University.
Ebola drug Remdesivir was considered a hopeful early treatment for COVID-19 - clinical trials in the USA showed it shortened the recovery time in some patients by a third - but the difference in mortality rate was not significant.
The novel coronavirus first emerged in Wuhan in late 2019, prompting the Chinese government to impose a stringent lockdown in the city on January 23, isolating the industrial and transport centre from the rest of the country and confining residents to their homes.