Perspectives on monoclonal antibody therapy as potential therapeutic intervention for Coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19)

Balamurugan Shanmugaraj, Konlavat Siriwattananon, Kittikhun Wangkanont, Waranyoo Phoolcharoen
Asian Pacific Journal of Allergy and Immunology 2020, 38 (1): 10-18
Last decade witnessed the outbreak of many life-threatening human pathogens including Nipah, Ebola, Chikungunya, Zika, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), Severe Acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and more recently novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV or SARS-CoV-2). The disease condition associated with novel coronavirus, referred to as Coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The emergence of novel coronavirus in 2019 in Wuhan, China marked the third highly pathogenic coronavirus infecting humans in the 21st century. The continuing emergence of coronaviruses at regular intervals poses a significant threat to human health and economy. Ironically, even after a decade of research on coronavirus, still there are no licensed vaccines or therapeutic agents to treat coronavirus infection which highlights an urgent need to develop effective vaccines or post-exposure prophylaxis to prevent future epidemics. Several clinical, genetic and epidemiological features of COVID-19 resemble SARS-CoV infection. Hence, the research advancements on SARS-CoV treatment might help scientific community in quick understanding of this virus pathogenesis and develop effective therapeutic/prophylactic agents to treat and prevent this infection. Monoclonal antibodies represent the major class of biotherapeutics for passive immunotherapy to fight against viral infection. The therapeutic potential of monoclonal antibodies has been well recognized in the treatment of many diseases. Here, we summarize the potential monoclonal antibody based therapeutic intervention for COVID-19 by considering the existing knowledge on the neutralizing monoclonal antibodies against similar coronaviruses SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. Further research on COVID-19 pathogenesis could identify appropriate therapeutic targets to develop specific anti-virals against this newly emerging pathogen.

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