Hyderabad Scientists Search Horses to Cure Covid-19

HYDERABAD: After finding the candidate vaccine for the new coronavirus, the city has joined the race to treat patients with Covid-19 obtained from horses. While a researcher at the University of Hyderabad (UoH) had previously found a vaccine candidate that could aid in the development of the vaccine to prevent Covid-19, the UoH has now partnered with the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology based in the City (CCMB)) and Vins Bioproducts Limited to develop antibody fragment-based immunotherapy for the immediate treatment of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Scientists and doctors from around the world, including India, have turned their attention to immunotherapy to tackle the malicious virus that has been wreaking havoc on human life and the human economy. Many are testing passive plasma-based immunity against Covid-19 to treat the pandemic. Plasma is obtained from people cured of Covid-19. But, taking this one step further, city scientists are exploring alternative strategies for using horses or other superior animals to create antibodies to tame the new coronavirus, or SARS-CoV2.

The use of antibodies has been an effective method in protecting against various human and animal diseases. Although passive plasma-based immunity against Covid-19 has been reported to work well in clinical trials, it has several theoretical and practical concerns, including limitation in the availability of human plasma samples. As the pandemic has become a major global crisis, we are exploring alternative strategies for using horses or other superior animals to generate antibodies, the researchers said.

The UoH team is led by Dr. Nooruddin Khan, associate professor, department of animal biology, Faculty of Life Sciences. Dr. Khan's laboratory specializes in the areas of immunology, infection biology, and vaccinology. The CCMB team is led by Chief Scientist Dr. Krishnan Harinivas, a specialist in molecular virology.

According to Dr. Nooruddin, antibodies generated in horses using inactivated coronavirus are fractionated and purified to produce antibody fragments to neutralize the coronavirus in patients who aid recovery.

Collaborators have the complementary experience necessary to develop therapy to treat the Covid-19 pandemic.