Distributed Bio co-founder and CEO Dr. Jacob Glanville told the Radio New Zealand program “Checkpoint” this week that he believes his team of scientists have developed a cure for the coronavirus.
“I’m happy to report that my team has successfully taken five antibodies that back in 2002 were determined to bind and neutralise, block and stop the SARS virus,” Dr Glanville said. “We’ve evolved them in our laboratory, so now they very vigorously block and stop the SARS-CoV-2 [Covid-19] virus as well. This makes them suitable medicines that one could use once they’ve gone through human testing to treat the virus.”
Glanville is featured in a Netflix documentary called “Pandemic” that explores where viruses come from, how scientists and medical professionals look at pandemics, and how experts try to prevent them from happening.
“The new virus is a cousin of the old SARS. So what we’ve done is we’ve created hundreds of millions of versions of those antibodies, we’ve mutated them a bit, and in that pool of mutated versions, we found versions that cross them over,” Glanville continued. “So now we know they bind on the same spot as the new virus, Covid-19. It binds the spot that the virus uses to gain entry into your cells. It blocks that.”
“At this point we know it binds the same spot extremely tightly with high affinity,” Glanville added. “The next step is we send the antibodies to the military, and they will directly put those on the virus and show that it blocks its ability to infect cells.”
Glanville said that the antibodies are being sent to the military because he does not want the coronavirus or SARS in his laboratory and he wants “the stamp of approval of a government military.”
Glanville said that his group is not the first group to find the antibodies, but he thinks his group is moving faster than others because they used existing scientific data from the SARS virus as the foundation for their antibodies.
Glanville told Fox News’ Martha MacCallum last month that the completed drug is going to go to the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.
He said that unlike a typical vaccine, antibodies can take effect almost immediately and can be used to treat those who are very sick. However, he cautioned that the antibodies would only provide protection for 8-10 weeks.
Glanville said that it would still take months before the antibodies could be available for the public to use.
“The next step, the big-time consuming part, is the GMP manufacturer,” Glanville said. “Traditionally, that takes nine to 12 months – obviously, we can’t wait that long. So we’ve worked with two different partners to try to accelerate that to take a few months, but that does take time, and there’s really no way around.”
“Assuming that we’re able to complete our study, at the end of summer… and it looks good, then we would use something called compassionate use,” Glanville continued. “This was used in the Ebola crisis, and it’s been used in other cases where if you have something that’s effective, and there’s no other good medicine, you can begin releasing it to the world for use prior to going through all the approval [processes].”
“That could be as early as September. Unfortunately, that’s also as far away as September,” Glanville concluded. “So, that’s as fast as we can conceive of having this medicine widely available.”