Monoclonal antibodies are a triumph of modern medicine. They are also too expensive to be a standard therapy in all but the wealthiest countries. “Having 10% or 15% of your population on antibodies is not sustainable even in wealthy countries,” Rachel Liberatore told BioWorld. Liberatore is director of research and development at Renbio Inc., which is testing the intramuscular delivery of antibody-encoding DNA to prevent and treat infections, including SARS-CoV-2 and HIV.
Delivering antibodies in the form of their DNA could enable their therapeutic use under several circumstances where traditional antibodies fall short. One of those is resource-poor settings where the current cost of antibodies makes them a nonstarter. Perhaps the largest opportunity to expand antibody use in such settings is for HIV, where broadly neutralizing antibodies have the potential to be the next best thing to a vaccine or a cure – if they can be made to last, for cheap.
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