Monoclonal Antibodies

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:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rashes

Uses of Monoclonal Antibodies

Currently, these are the uses of monoclonal antibodies. Healthcare professionals use them in the treatment of the following:

  • Cancer
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Psoriasis
  • 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.

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