Inhaled COVID-19 treatment tested at UAB shows promise

Updated: Oct. 19, 2020 at 10:25 AM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - An inhaled treatment, jointly developed and patented by UAB and Texas Biomedical Research Institute, against the SARS-CoV-2 virus may lead to a future self-administered therapy for COVID-19.

The inhaled monoclonal antibody treatment has successfully eradicated SARS-CoV-2 virus from infected animals at a greater than 100-fold lower dose than other COVID-19 monoclonal antibodies reported to date.

It has been licensed for development to Aridis Pharmaceuticals Inc., San Jose, California.

“Combining a highly potent monoclonal antibody with direct delivery to the lungs, which are the main target of the COVID-19 virus, achieved impressive efficacy in animal models,” said Hasan Jafri, M.D., chief medical officer at Aridis. “The therapeutic dose we observed corresponds to an estimated adult human equivalent efficacious dose of 1 to 3 milligrams. In contrast, other clinical stage COVID-19 monoclonal antibodies require up to 8,000 milligrams to achieve clinical benefits.”

Vu Truong, Ph.D., CEO of Aridis, noted that most COVID-19 patients are homebound, often with no treatment options. “Having a convenient way to self-medicate — with the simplicity of an asthma treatment, where the drug is delivered directly to the infection site — can have a transformative impact on the lives of patients, including their morbidity and mortality, treatment coverage, and ultimately reduction in transmissibility,” Truong said.

Jafri says Aridis plans to evaluate the therapeutic treatment with the monoclonal antibody, called AR-711, in non-hospitalized, mild to moderate COVID-19 patients in a global study, beginning in the first half of 2021.

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