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Chicken antibodies may offer temporary Covid-19 protection

Published Nov 12, 2020


CAPE TOWN - A clinical trial is underway in Australia to explore the possibility of chicken antibodies, used in the form of nasal drops, provide temporary protections against Covid-19.

As the world awaits the final development of the Covid-19 vaccine, scientist continues looking at alternative approached to treating and controlling Covid-19 and the global spread.

The phase I study, sponsored by The Stanford University, hopes the antibodies found in chickens could provide temporary protection against Covid-19 and as the research is yet to confirm that this approach may work and if it does, could be breakthrough in the fight against Covid-19 outbreak offering a solution to high-risk situations where individuals use the nasal spray before boarding a plane, working in crowded areas or attending family and social gatherings.

Although there are many other nasal sprays in development aiming to provide protection against Covid-19, what makes Stanford University's unique is a low-tech approach which harvest antibodies from egg yolks from chickens immunised of Covid-19 with the trials focusing on the safety of the nasal admission, how long the spray remains in the nose and also testing on hamsters that are exposed to Covid-19.

Michael Diamond, an infectious disease clinician at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis who is developing a nasal-administered vaccine for COVID-19, said to Science Mag,“The concept, in principle, sort of makes sense but there are a couple of issues to think about.” One is how long the chicken antibodies will last before they degrade, he says, and the other is whether humans will develop an immune response against them.

Daria Mochly-Rosen, the Stanford protein chemist leading the project, is absolutely certain the antibodies will pass the tests, but said, “The proof is in the pudding” with the placebo-controlled safety trial currently underway in Australia with 48 people participating.

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