Monoclonal antibodies are proving to be an effective form of treatment against several diseases, like cancer and COVID-19. These imitate the function of antibodies naturally present in one’s body, only with greater resistance power. This is why these antibodies serve as remedies to beat deadly viruses like SARS-CoV-2.
A thorough idea of this topic is essential to crack IAS Exam. Keep reading to know about these antibodies in detail and prepare better.
Latest News Regarding Monoclonal Antibodies in India
- International Aids Vaccine Initiative and the Serum Institute of India have announced an agreement with Merck to develop monoclonal antibodies for the Sars-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19).
- According to a recent publication in the Times of India, the Omicron variant is entirely unresponsive to the primary monoclonal antibody treatments available. It has been deemed ineffective.
- BCCI President Sourav Ganguly also received monoclonal antibody treatment after testing positive for COVID-19.
Candidates can refer to the UPSC Syllabus related links given below:
What are Monoclonal Antibodies?
Monoclonal antibodies are artificially engineered in laboratories by scientists as a form of medication. This is because they are characterised by their ability to help a human body combat viral infections better. These can target only one specific type of antigen.
The short-form for them is Moabs or Mabs. Here is how it works.
The body responds by producing antibodies to counteract the virus or antigens, whenever a person falls ill. These antibodies are specific to a particular antigen. Therefore, scientists can replicate these antibodies and help in the treatment of a disease.
So far, healthcare professionals have used monoclonal antibodies in the treatment of cancer.
Examples of Monoclonal Antibodies
There are four ways in which scientists prepare monoclonal antibodies. They are:
- Murine: Murine monoclonal antibodies consist of mouse proteins, and any treatment with these ends with the suffix -omab.
- Human: These are made purely from human beings, and any treatment with these ends with the suffix -umab.
- Humanised: Humanised monoclonal antibodies are made of parts of mouse proteins attached to human proteins. Any treatment with these ends with -zumab.
- Chimeric: These are also a combination of part mouse and part human. The treatment ends with -umab.
Here are some FDA approved monoclonal antibodies.
- Ustekinumab (Stelara)
- Trastuzumab (Herceptin)
- Tocilizumab (Actemra)
- Secukinumab (Cosentyx)
- Rituximab (Rituxan)
- Pembrolizumab (Keytruda)
- Panitumumab (Vectibix)
- Palivizumab (Synagis)
- Omalizumab (Xolair)
- Olaratumab (Lartruvo)
- Nivolumab (Opdivo)
- Natalizumab (Tysabri)
- Ixekizumab (Taltz)
- Ipilimumab (Yervoy)
- Inflectra (Remicade)
- Golimumab (Simponi, Simponi Aria)
- Efalizumab (Raptiva)
- Denosumab (Prolia, Xgeva)
- Daclizumab (Zenapax, Zinbryta)
- Cetuximab (Erbitux)
- Certolizumab pegol (Cimzia)
- Canakinumab (Ilaris)
- Bezlotoxumab (Zinplava)
- Belimumab (Benlysta)
- Basiliximab (Simulect)
- Alemtuzumab (Campath)
- Alefacept (Amevive)
- Adalimumab (Humira, Amjevita)
- Abciximab (Reopro)
Possible Side-effects of Monoclonal Antibodies
Since monoclonal antibodies are themselves proteins, they can cause an allergic reaction. Some of the possible side-effects of these antibodies are:
- Low blood pressure
Uses of Monoclonal Antibodies
Currently, these are the uses of monoclonal antibodies. Healthcare professionals use them in the treatment of the following:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Multiple sclerosis
- Cardiovascular disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Transplant rejection
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
Monoclonal Antibody Treatment for COVID-19
In 2020, the US Government’s Food and Drug Administration had approved emergency authorisation to use monoclonal antibodies as a treatment option for COVID-19.
When the monoclonal antibody enters the bloodstream, it attaches to the spike of the COVID-19 virus, and prevents it from entering other cells. Therefore, the rate of reproduction is significantly slowed down.
Some of the names of the drugs that are used are sotrovimab and a combination of casirivimab and imdevimab.
Monoclonal antibody treatment is quite effective for COVID-19. It helps to reduce hospital and emergency department visits.
There are only two types of monoclonal antibodies that are effective against the Omicron variant, and these are sotrovimab and DXP-604.
From the perspective of the UPSC Exam, monoclonal antibodies constitute a very pertinent topic as it is connected with COVID-19. Along those lines, here are other essential queries you can browse through.
Frequently Asked Questions
How effective are monoclonal antibodies against COVID-19?
The treatment with antibodies reduces the risk of severe COVID-19 by 85%.
What are the two monoclonal antibody treatments available in India?
Casirivimab and Imdevimab are the two monoclonal antibodies available in India, developed by Roche.