Plasma samples from horses immunized with SARS-CoV-2 virus proteins were analyzed and the results are quite encouraging.
With the immunization that is being carried out at the Clodomiro Picado Institute of the University of Costa Rica (ICP-UCR), a satisfactory immune response is being achieved. Antibodies that recognize the part of the protein that gives the virus its ability to infect cells are detected in all immunized animals.
“What we have been able to observe throughout the immunization scheme is that the amount of antibodies against viral proteins has been increasing. This makes us very ready at the moment that corresponds to the extraction of the plasma. During all this period, the physical state, health and nutrition of the animals have been taken care of in order to have an optimal plasma collection ”, indicated Dr. Guillermo León, coordinator of the Industrial Division of ICP-UCR.
To measure the amount of antibodies against viral proteins, the ICP-UCR scientific team designed an ELISA test (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay).
According to the graph given by the specialists, in just 35 days the plasma of the horses reached a significantly high concentration of specific antibodies. This offers a very positive outlook, because it means that you can get a really powerful medicine.
So far, horses have had a total of four immunizations with different combinations of SARS-Cov-2 proteins, which do not harm the health of horses.
“Among the selected proteins is the S1 protein, which is the viral protein that binds to the cellular receptor. We also have portions of the E and M proteins, as a recombinant construct, and the nucleocapsid N protein. Although the latter is an internal antigen of the virus, it is also the one against which the plasma of convalescent people contains more antibodies. For this reason, it was also included as an immunogen (substance capable of inducing an immune response), ”said Dr. León.
If everything goes as planned, before the end of June, the team of researchers would already be starting the antibody purification process at the ICP-UCR pharmaceutical plant for the preparation of the medicine.