Organizations finding a treatment for COVID-19

KELO SAb Biotherapeutics, Inc logo

Clarification: This story was edited to reflect that these businesses are finding a treatment not a vaccine.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Organizations are partnering together in hopes of finding treatment for COVID-19.

SAb Biotherapeutics, Inc. and CSL Behring are two companies combating the coronavirus pandemic. CSL Behring specializes in protein science capabilities and SAb has high developments in novel immunotherapy. The team has developed SAB-185, a COVID-19 therapeutic candidate. It’s on track for a clinical evaluation around May.

“Our targeted high-potency immunotherapies leverage the native immune response thereby providing a highly-specific match against the complexity, diversity and mutation of a disease. Our partnership with CSL Behring shifts our development trajectory to more rapidly scale-up and delivery of our highly targeted and potent COVID-19 therapeutic candidate, and deploy our unique capabilities to help combat this crisis,” Eddie J. Sullivan, SAb Biotherapeutics president, CEO and co-founder said.

Sullivan says the company uses genetically engineered animals to produce human antibodies. These antibodies are harvested out of the animals and used to fight disease. Your body already produces antibodies, so the antibodies SAb Biotherapeutics is producing mesh perfectly with everyone’s biology.

“We are using this exact same process, because when we get sick it’s just simply a matter of our bodies becoming overwhelmed. So, we’re just giving the body back more of what it’s already trying to do in order to fight disease,” Sullivan said.

He says the process of transferring the antibodies to a person is fairly simple.

“Just through a simple protein infusion. So, it’s through an IV that we’re able to introduce these antibodies that these animals produce into these patients. Because they are fully human antibodies that these animals are producing, the patients recognize them as being human, so they don’t make a response (an allergic reaction) to these antibodies,” Sullivan said.

The Sioux Falls biotherapeutics company, SAb, has also developed over a dozen effective antibodies. Those antibodies helped fight infectious diseases like Ebola, Zika, Dengue and others. Sullivan says their research in these antibodies helps to find a treatment for COVID-19.

SAb Biotherapeutics was also awarded a $27 million contract by the U.S. Department of Defense to develop and test a Rapid Response Antibody Program. The organization has already begun developing therapeutics for COVID-19.

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