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UPMC, Pitt antibody work yields 'scientific breakthrough'

September 15, 2020 News Extra

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UPMC and University of Pittsburgh medical researchers announced a “scientific breakthrough” in a Tuesday afternoon news conference that may provide the key to fighting COVID-19.

But the breakthrough isn't a vaccine. It's an antibody. And it is expected to both prevent and treat COVID-19 infections.

“A vaccine induces antibodies,” said Dr. John Mellors, chief of infectious diseases at UPMC. “A vaccine cannot treat an established infection.”

Dimiter Dimitrov, director of the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Antibody Therapeutics, started working with assistant director Wei Li and other scientists this spring to identify an antibody that neutralizes the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The antibody has been used to develop a drug called Ab8.

“We found that it's not just important for treatment,” Dimitrov said. “But also for prevention.”

This is a breaking news report — subscribe online or in print to read the full article about the breakthrough in Wednesday's Butler Eagle.

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