In Russia, a medicine has been developed for the corona virus based on monoclonal antibodies. Dmitry Kuprash , a Russian scientist , told kp.ru about how the drug was created, how much the drug will cost and when it can be expected to go into mass circulation, as well as whether it works against the most common and infectious strains of the virus, such as Delta. , specialist in the field of molecular biology and immunology. Chief Researcher, Institute of Molecular Biology. Engelhardt (IMB), where a new Russian miracle drug was created.
HOW THE MEDICINE WAS CREATED
- To be fair, I must say that this drug is not only developed by our institute. Key person in development – Alexander Taranin, Head of the Laboratory of Immunogenetics, Institute of Molecular Cell Biology, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The molecular part was made in his laboratory. The test system for determining the best (most suitable – editor’s note) antibodies is the work of Alexander Ivanov from our institute. And the third key person is physician Vladimir Baklaushev from the Federal Research and Clinical Center of FMBA. Perhaps there were some other people whom I do not know, but these three are key developers, – says Dmitry Kuprash. – Baklaushev had patients with a high titer of antibodies, Ivanov’s system made it possible to find these patients, obtain the necessary cells from them and send them to Taranin, because in his laboratory he has an advanced technology for very fast production of antibodies. Taranin isolated genes that clone antibodies, placed them in the system,
In fact, the team had antibodies suitable for drug development back in the summer of last year. By the end of last year, everything was essentially ready, the so-called pilot preclinical trials were completed, the expert continues. But the problem was that the development of the drug was expensive and the business refused to finance the project under the pretext that two years before the drug could be introduced, the pandemic would be over and it would be a loss-making project. As a result, the money was found under the program of state support for genetic research.
HOW MUCH A MIRACLE COST AND WHEN THEY WILL START TO TREAT
- The drug itself is not expensive. Monocolonal antibodies are very popular now. For example, Tocilizumab, which blocks the cytokine storm, is also a monocolonal antibody made using exactly the same technology. Or ifliximab, which is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. In this case, one injection costs several tens of thousands of rubles, which, of course, is expensive, but not in the case when the drug is life-saving, as in the fight against coronavirus, says Dmitry Kuprash. – If a severe diabetic or hypertensive person becomes infected with a coronavirus and there is a decent risk that he will die, then several tens of thousands of rubles is a ridiculous price to save him. And you need one injection! These antibodies are designed in such a way that they circulate throughout the body for several weeks and provide protection.
Monocolonal antibody is the most accurate weapon of the immune system, targeting the S-protein of the coronavirus, but it is not known when the drug will begin to be used.
- Unfortunately, it is impossible to predict when a drug will pass all clinical trials and be ready for implementation. An example is the Sputnik V vaccine, the trials of which just “magically” coincided with the next wave of morbidity in Moscow. Therefore, they fantastically quickly recruited the required number of patients and saw that the statistics were excellent and the effectiveness was good. Anti-Vaxers, here, like to say that the tests are not over. So it was a great success that the creators of the drug quickly received such a large number of results and moved on. If the wave of morbidity went differently, they could hang for many months. Here, the same thing. Clinical trials will need to be carried out in some area where the coronavirus will rage at this time.
WHO IS THE PREPARATION SUITABLE FOR?
- Dmitry Vladimirovich, are we talking about a drug for seriously ill patients?
- This antibody blocks the virus itself, that is, it must be injected as early as possible, but to people at risk. Now, if now, on the parole of the prosecutor that he would not plant anyone, this drug would be administered to the patient, then everything would work out.
- Are you sure about that?
- I am absolutely sure, because in qualified hands monocolonal antibodies are perfectly cleaned, the properties of antibodies against coronavirus are well known. There is an analogue, Regeneron, an American cocktail that was used to treat Trump. This is not the same, Taranin has original antibodies, but they have similar properties. If one of my parents had such a problem and they offered me our drug, I would not hesitate to agree. But until the drug is registered, it is illegal. That is, it seems to be there, but on the other hand it seems to be not there.
- Does the drug really work well against the most evil strains of coronavirus, Delta, for example?
- This has been directly verified. There is a corresponding laboratory procedure. The properties of this cocktail have been tested against all topical strains, including Delta. And everything’s good. Works.