SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) A Sioux Falls lab is on the front lines of the nation’s battle against COVID-19 by working on a possible treatment for the disease. SAb Biotherapeutics has successfully developed treatments for other infectious diseases, including Ebola and MERS. Now it’s setting its sites on the coronavirus. An effective and safe treatment could be just a matter of months away.
Research underway at SAb Biotherapeutics could lead to the first major medical breakthrough against COVID-19.
“To be able to have something that could potentially help someone is really the satisfaction that we get,” SAb Biotherapeutics President & CEO Eddie Sullivan said.
While much of the nation’s attention has been focused on developing a vaccine to protect people against COVID-19, SAb Biotherapeutics is working on a safe and effective treatment for patients who suffer from the disease.
“That is going to be a game-changer if we can take the people who are so desperately sick with coronavirus and get them better,” Rep. Dusty Johnson, (R) South Dakota said.
SAb Biotherapeutics updated Congressman Dusty Johnson on the company’s progress.
The key here in coming up with a treatment is testing antibodies developed in a herd of cloned dairy cows!
“They have been designed through human engineering to produce human antibodies, rather than cow antibodies. So what we’re able to do is produce human antibodies in these animals against specific diseases,” Sullivan said.
Researchers here can work on a treatment without ever coming in contact with the actual coronavirus.
“We do have collaborators around the country that are in containment laboratories and so we send our antibodies to them and they can actually test our antibodies against the actual virus to determine if it does what it needs to do,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan says it’s possible a treatment could be ready for clinical testing sometime this summer. Then, the FDA would have to give final approval before it’s available to the public.
Other companies are also working on treatment. But Sullivan it’s not a fierce competition to see which one finishes ahead of the others. Rather, he says there’s a great deal of collaboration taking place among the companies to arrive at a treatment.