COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center will be part of a clinical trial for a possible antibody treatment for COVID-19.

The university says the ACTIV-2 trial is part of Operation Warp Speed, the U.S. government’s multi-agency effort to speed up the effort to bring medications and vaccines to market to fight COVID-19. 

Earlier this week, the Wexner Medical Center announced it would be part of the Coronavirus Prevention Network’s AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine trial. 

The ACTIV-2 clinical trial that started Friday is testing the effectiveness of a lab-manufactured neutralizing antibody to treat adults who have COVID-19 but aren’t hospitalized.

“These neutralizing antibodies are very specific to this virus and that’s also why we have so much hope for them,” said Dr. Carlos Malvestutto. “It specifically targets a protein on the surface of the virus – a spike protein on the surface of the virus. This is what the virus uses to attach to the cells in our airways to be able to enter those cells and replicate itself.”

The hope is that the synthetic antibody made by Eli Lilly will be effective in preventing the progression of the disease and helping patients recover more rapidly. 

Malvestutto, an infectious disease expert, said while the trial is moving at a pace much faster than normal, researchers are not skipping any steps.

“We will only know after we run these trials,” Malvestutto said. “Then we’ll have the data to say, ‘Yes this is exactly how well this works and this is what we know about its safety profile.’”

Currently, there are no approved treatments for patients with mild to moderate symptoms who are not hospitalized. The ACTIV-2 trial is designed to allow for an accelerated evaluation.

Malvestutto said the trial will be recruiting patients 18 years of age and older who have tested positive within the previous seven days and have had symptoms for up to 10 days.

“This trial is very important,” Malvestutto said. “We think that it’s one way that people can make an impact and actually contribute to finding treatments that may become the standard of care for treating COVID-19.”

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