City of Hope develops new immunotherapy to treat Covid-19
City of Hope develops new immunotherapy to treat Covid-19

City of Hope develops new immunotherapy to treat Covid-19

It has researchers at the City of Hope in the United States developed a new immunotherapy that can offer a new treatment route for the treatment of Covid-19 and other infections.

Immunotherapy utilizes natural killer (NK) cells with a specific molecule that can act on the tip protein from SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The study adds the City of Hope’s expertise in using CAR T cell therapy, natural killer cells and other immunotherapies to help discover better treatments for cancer and other disorders.

NK cells are lymphocytes in the body that detect and act quickly on abnormal cells, including virus-infected cells.

These cells are universal killers in the body’s immune response to some viruses or tumors, but they are not specific for SARS-CoV-2.

In addition, Covid-19 patients have a significantly lower number of NK cells, studies showed.

In the latest study, researchers at the City of Hope demonstrated that altering NK cells genetically with a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) that ‘sees’ the SARS-CoV-2 virus increases survival in virus-infected animals.

The researchers isolated NK cells from umbilical cord blood for the study and used them to produce CAR-NK cells. Subsequently, the cells were engineered to express ACE2 receptors, a protein that detects and binds to the virus to enter a cell.

The CAR-NK cells utilize the ACE2 receptor to bind to the nail protein of SARS-CoV2 and attack the virus.

The modified NK cells were administered to Covid-19-infected humanized mice.

According to the results, a lower viral load and prolonged survival were observed in the animal models.

The team plans to obtain permission to use their CAR-NK cell product to treat moderate- to high-risk Covid-19 patients in the future.

The president of the City of Hope National Medical Center, Michael Caligiuri, said: “The importance of this off-the-shelf therapy is that you do not have to use your own cells – the cells can be frozen and ready to go, locally or shipped anywhere around the world.”

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