California biomedical company Sorrento studying coronavirus antibody STI-1499 therapy

A California-based biopharmaceutical company reported Friday that it discovered an antibody that not only shields the body from the novel coronavirus but flushes it out of a person’s system within four days if they are infected, according to a story from Investor’s Business Daily.

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Sorrento Therapeutics announced the results of their antibody research and the discovery of the STI-1499 antibody Friday.

According to the company, STI-1499 provides “100% inhibition” of the COVID-19 virus.

However, the company’s findings have not yet been submitted for peer review. Sorrento's test was preclinical, meaning the company hasn't yet tested its treatment in humans.

Sorrento said it can produce up to 200,000 doses each month at its current production level and plans to stockpile 1 million doses while seeking U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for the antibody treatment.

Henry Ji, Sorrento Therapeutics chief executive, said the antibody works by putting “its arms around the virus. It wraps around the virus and moves them out of the body."

The company screened and tested billions of antibodies to narrow down which one may work to block the virus. Researchers around the world have been looking for an antibody that prevents the viral protein from grabbing onto a key receptor on the surface of cells in the body. Once the virus is in cells, it replicates and spreads throughout the body.

Sorrento Therapeutics could begin testing the antibody in clinical trials in patients by mid-July, Ji told The San Diego Tribune. The company said the treatment could be available months before a vaccine hits the market.

According to the company, the antibody performed well even to help those sick with the virus or those who have not contracted it even though it was used at a concentration 10 to 100-times lower than antibodies used to treat other diseases.

The news excited investors and Shares of the company jumped more than 200% on Friday on news of the company’s research. The Wall Street Journal was quick to warn investors that while Sorrento’s claims are exciting, they are not yet vetted by anyone outside of the company.

“But investors ought to consider some important caveats before rushing out to take a subway ride to a packed concert in celebration, the Journal wrote. “Sorrento’s antibody was effective in a laboratory setting, which precedes any clinical trials. There is not yet any evidence that the treatment candidate is safe or effective in human beings.

“As for the full results themselves, Sorrento said in a news release that the full details “will be submitted to a peer-reviewed publication shortly.” “

Sorrento announced last week that it was teaming up with New York City-based Mount Sinai Health System to develop a mixture of three antibodies to form a “cocktail” called COVI-SHIELD to treat the COVID-19 virus. The three antibodies would work to block the virus from invading cells. STI-1499 would be one of those antibodies.

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