Regeneron says potential Covid-19 drugs could start human tests by early summer

The biotechnology firm Regeneron said it has now developed hundreds of potential medicines that could work against the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19, and that it may enter clinical trials by early summer.

“The most tried-and-true near-term approach, in terms of prophylaxis, is making highly potent neutralizing antibodies against the virus itself,” said George Yancopoulos, Regeneron’s co-founder and chief scientific officer, in an interview.

It will choose two of these based on their potency and other “desirable qualities” like specificity, ability to be manufactured easily, and durability in the body.

It is likely that developing a drug as a treatment will take less time than proving it can prevent infection; the latter requires much bigger and longer studies.

Other groups, including the teams of Biogen and Vir and Eli Lilly and AbCellera, have also announced plans to develop antibody drugs against the virus.

“We feel privileged at Regeneron in the investments that we’ve made, and we’re proud that we’re not alone, and that there’s an entire industry that is stepping up.”

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