Team at Vanderbilt says their short-term antibody treatment will be a success


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Four months, consisting of long hours and no weekends off, is ending in a hopeful short-term treatment for COVID-19.

A team of ten including Dr. Robert Carnahan, the Associate Director at the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center, have been using antibodies from coronavirus survivors to treat current COVID-19 patients.

“It’s one of those times in life where it’s difficult but you actually have something to offer,” Dr. Carnahan said Wednesday, “We look at it as a real privilege to do what we do.”

Dr. Carnahan has been looking into antibody treatments for years, in preparation of a pandemic.

​”That was surreal to us is in the midst of this preparation we actually got activated to do it,” said Dr. Carnahan, “It took at least two months from infection to actually have a robust antibody response we can look into and find protective antibodies​.”

Dr. Carnahan calls it passive therapy—a short-term treatment that would provide support against the virus for one to five months, unlike a vaccine that would treat COVID-19 for a longer period of time, even permanently.

“The benefit of the antibody therapy is it’s going to come to market more quickly,” said Dr. Carnahan, “It has to do with the safety that’s already been demonstrated.​”

Now, Dr. Carnahan and his colleagues are demonstrating their findings to pharmaceutical companies in preparation for clinical trials, which Dr. Carnahan believes will begin this summer.

If all goes well, we asked Dr. Carnahan when the short-term antibody treatment could be produced?

“That’s a different issue, but I can see it being available in the fall, maybe late fall,” said Dr. Carnahan.

Dr. Carnahan added that a vaccine has a different pathway and is a bit more complicated and doesn’t believe a vaccine will be ready until the beginning of next year, at the earliest, in the fall.

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.


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