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Pitt makes advancements with virus treatment

A team at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine has isolated a component of a human antibody that other universities showed can neutralize COVID-19 in animals, according to a news release from the school.

Ab8, the drug constructed with the antibody fragment, has worked in mice and hamsters, and has the potential eventually to be used as COVID-19 therapy and COVID-19 prevention in humans, according to the news release.

The component is 1/10th the size of the full antibody, and its small size might enable it to be administered by inhalation or other means than intravenously, according to the news release.

The Pitt team found the component of immunoglobulin by “‘fishing’ in a pool of more than 100 billion potential candidates” using the spike protein of the COVID-19 virus as “bait,” according to the news release.

A UPMC-backed company called Abound Bio has licensed Ab8, for worldwide development.

UPMC is planning a virtual news conference today to talk about it.

Researchers from Pitt and the universities that conducted the successful tests reported the results in the journal Cell on Monday.

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