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COVID-19 Update: New Synthetic Antibody Appears To Block Omicron, All Other Known Variants

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Early during the pandemic there was a lot of hope placed on antibodies from recovering COVID-19 patients or made in the lab. But the effectiveness of those treatments has waned as different variants have popped up.

Now, CBS2's Dr. Max Gomez has the latest a new antibody that looks to be effective against all forms of the coronavirus.

Virtually from the beginning of the pandemic, researchers at Mount Sinai's Drug Discovery Institute and its Center for Therapeutic Antibody Development recognized that antibodies were the first line of defense against COVID.

Those researchers have since made a new antibody that works like all other antibodies, blocking the spike protein that allows the virus to attach and infect cells. But it also has one huge advantage.

"It blocks not only the original SARS, it has been shown to block the other variants of concern along the way. And then now just recently, it's blocked Omicron, plus the new Omicron variant popping up right now," Dr. Andrew Duty said.


That synthetic antibody has now been licensed by Sorrento Therapeutics, a California pharmaceutical company working on a number of COVID drugs.

The antibody, now dubbed Covishield, has been tested both by Mount Sinai and Sorrento against the virus in the lab and in animals and has been shown to not only be effective against all variants so far, it can be given intranasally -- nose drops or spray. Plus, it's effective in such tiny doses that huge quantities can be quickly made.

"Five to 10 million doses in a month, and you're doing nose drops. That pricing cost instead of $1,000, we can be in the $100 to $500. That's very affordable. Everybody can use it," Sorrento CEO Henry Ji said.

Sorrento plans to ask the Food and Drug Administration for permission to start clinical trials within the next two months. Its first application would likely be to give it to people who are just starting to show symptoms in order to shut down the infection before it becomes serious.

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