Development and pre-clinical characterization of two therapeutic equine formulations towards SARS-CoV-2 proteins for the potential treatment of COVID-19

Guillermo Léon et al.

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Received date: 19th October 2020

In the current global emergency due to SARS-CoV-2 outbreak, passive immunotherapy emerges as a promising treatment for COVID-19. Among animal-derived products, equine formulations are still the cornerstone therapy for treating envenomations due to animal bites and stings. Therefore, drawing upon decades of experience in manufacturing snake antivenom, we developed and preclinically evaluated two anti-SARS-CoV-2 polyclonal equine formulations as potential alternative therapy for COVID-19. We immunized two groups of horses with either S1 (anti-S1) or a mixture of S1, N, and SEM mosaic (anti-Mix) viral recombinant proteins. Horses reached a maximum anti-viral antibody level at 7 weeks following priming, and showed no major adverse acute or chronic clinical alterations. Two whole-IgG formulations were prepared via hyperimmune plasma precipitation with caprylic acid and then formulated for parenteral use. Both preparations had similar physicochemical and microbiological quality and showed ELISA immunoreactivity towards S1 protein and the receptor binding domain (RBD). The anti-Mix formulation also presented immunoreactivity against N protein. Due to high anti-S1 and anti-RBD antibody content, final products exhibited high in vitro neutralizing capacity of SARS-CoV-2 infection, 80 times higher than a pool of human convalescent plasma. Pre-clinical quality profiles were similar among both products, but clinical efficacy and safety must be tested in clinical trials. The technological strategy we describe here can be adapted by other producers, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

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This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on a preprint server, which is currently undergoing peer review at Scientific Reports. The findings have yet to be thoroughly evaluated, nor has a decision on ultimate publication been made. Therefore, the results reported should not be considered conclusive, and these findings should not be used to inform clinical practice, or public health policy, or be promoted as verified information.

Scientific Reports

Nature Research, Springer Nature