Costa Rican scientists reported progress in an investigation aimed at creating equine plasma-based treatment for COVID-19, while the country continued Wednesday with a sustained rise in new cases in the framework of its second pandemic wave.
The Clodomiro Picado Institute of the state University of Costa Rica revealed that after three months of immunization, a group of horses reached their peak of generating antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
According to information from the institute, on July 3 the scientists proceeded to perform an industrial bleeding and this Monday they began processing the plasma with which to prepare a formulation of equine antibodies against COVID-19.
“The blood was fractionated to obtain the plasma, from which the antibodies will be purified. The rest, the cellular part, was returned to each horse to prevent them from developing anemia pictures. At all times, the horses were closely monitored for their health, that they had enough pasture in the paddocks, good quality food and always treated very calmly, “said the Institute’s veterinary doctor, Mauricio Arguedas.
The process consists of four immunizations to the horses with combinations of coronavirus proteins that do not harm the health of these animals.
The scientists then measured the amount of antibodies against viral proteins using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and finally extracted between 8 and 9 liters of plasma from each horse, for a total of about 50 liters, the institute reported.
This plasma is being processed in order to obtain a first batch of the formulation that could be used to treat seriously ill patients with COVID-19.
The institute has also announced that it is able to develop a similar plasma-based serum from recovered patients.