As Western New York sees a spike in positive COVID-19 cases, researchers at the University at Buffalo are trying to prevent the numbers from getting worse.


What You Need To Know

  • UB has launched a COVID-19 antibody study
  • Asymptomatic individuals who were exposed to a household member who tested positive for COVID-19 are eligible for the study
  • The antibody treatment is believed to reduce the severity of symptoms or potentially prevent symptoms entirely

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Dr. Sanjay Sethi, the chief of the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB, said, "If you vaccinate against COVID, the body makes antibodies so what has happened now is that you can manufacture those antibodies in the laboratory, and you can give them to people, and that can help them fight the virus."

That's exactly what the University at Buffalo is doing. It's all part of Regeneron's national clinical trial of an antibody cocktail called REGN-COV2. 

Dr. Sethi, who is the principal investigator on the study, said, "What we're trying to do here is give the antibody to people who have been exposed to COVID within the household before they get sick. The idea being is maybe we can actually prevent them from getting COVID or even if they get it, it will be mild." 

For the study, UB researchers are recruiting people who live with someone who recently tested positive for COVID-19. If that applies to you and you happen to show symptoms, you're not eligible to participate. But if you're asymptomatic and a household member gets tested for COVID-19, you have 96 hours to wait for their positive results and enroll in the study. Potential participants will also receive a rapid COVID-19 test and will still be a part of the study regardless of the outcome.

"What we're hoping is that individuals who were negative to start with stay negative or the ones that have the virus don't get too sick," said Dr. Sethi.

The antibody drug is designed to bind to the spike protein of the virus and possibly block its ability to invade cells and multiply. The treatment is believed to reduce the severity of symptoms in those who have been exposed to the virus or may even prevent symptoms altogether. 

"The biggest part is coming to know if it works or not so it becomes another tool in our chest to prevent and manage COVID," Dr. Sethi said.

If you're interested in participating, contact Kelly Green at 716-888-4764 or email kjk22@buffalo.edu for more information.