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Regeneron begins clinical trials of potential coronavirus antibody treatment

Regeneron begins clinical trials of potential coronavirus antibody treatment
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Regeneron Pharmaceuticals announced Thursday that it has begun clinical trials on a potential treatment for the coronavirus using antibodies that the body produces to fight the virus.

Regeneron is testing a cocktail of two antibodies to both treat and prevent the coronavirus, developed using people who have recovered from COVID-19 as well as genetically modified mice.

The company did not give a firm timeline for its work, but these antibody cocktails could be ready sooner than a vaccine.

A competitor company also working on the idea, Eli Lilly, said its antibody treatment could be as ready as early as September; it started trials earlier this month.   

“We have created a unique anti-viral antibody cocktail with the potential both to prevent and treat infection,” George Yancopoulos, chief scientific officer of Regeneron, said in a statement.

The antibody cocktail “could have a major impact on public health by slowing spread of the virus and providing a needed treatment for those already sick — and could be available much sooner than a vaccine.”

Yancopoulos said on CNBC on Thursday that he thinks his company’s approach of using a cocktail of two antibodies is better than Eli Lilly’s of using a single antibody because it could help prevent the virus from mutating. 

Scott Gottlieb, President TrumpDonald John TrumpFox News president, top anchors advised to quarantine after coronavirus exposure: report Six notable moments from Trump and Biden's '60 Minutes' interviews Biden on attacks on mental fitness: Trump thought '9/11 attack was 7/11 attack' MORE’s former Food and Drug Administration commissioner, called for government support to help ramp up production of the treatments. 

“These antibody programs are on pace to potentially have a product for the Fall for emergency use,” he tweeted. “The challenge will be supply. The manufacturers will have limited doses unless the feds can help crash manufacturing capacity. This is where the government can play an important role.”