CAMBRIDGE, MA, USA I March 31, 2020 I Ostrich Pharma USA has announced the successful development of ostrich antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the expanding use of those antibodies in Japan, and plans for producing and deploying the antibodies in the U.S.
Dr. Yasuhiro Tsukamoto, Dean of the Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences at Kyoto Prefectural University and Co-CEO of Ostrich Pharma USA, has injected a genetically engineered pseudovirus into ostriches, and antibodies were purified from their eggs. These antibodies demonstrate a strong ability to neutralize SARS-CoV-2 viruses. Dr. Tsukamoto said: “We have produced ostrich antibodies to many viruses, bacteria, and allergens, but we were pleased to see how quickly the ostriches developed immunity and placed the anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in their eggs. We were even more pleased to see how capable the antibodies were in blocking the virus that causes COVID-19.”
Ten ostriches have been vaccinated, and the antibodies from their eggs have already been used in masks, nasal drops, and candies in Japan. Masks with antibody-impregnated liners have been proven to block 99.9% of influenza viruses. More than 70 medical institutions in Japan have purchased large numbers of ostrich antibody masks to prevent infections among healthcare workers, and the order rate is increasing. The Rinku Medical Clinic, a cancer hospital in Osaka, Japan, has begun a clinical trial on the use of ostrich antibody nasal drops to prevent hospital-acquired coronavirus infection. If a patient infected with SARS-CoV-2 is present, a doctor will spray the antibody solution into the nasal cavity of hospitalized patients, close contacts, and healthcare professionals. According to Dr. Takahiro Ishikawa, President of the Rinku Medical Clinic, “In the absence of vaccines and therapeutics, proving that the ostrich antibody nasal drops have a preventive effect could be a real breakthrough.”
Dr. Tsukamoto’s research also encompasses the study of the ostrich antibodies as a therapeutic. He and his research team have published results showing one hundred per cent efficacy of H5N1 (avian influenza) antibodies injected into chickens infected with the avian influenza virus. To reduce potential rejection after inoculation into humans, Dr. Tsukamoto is developing an antibody drug that uses various enzymes to cut ostrich antibody molecules into smaller molecules containing antigen-binding regions.
According to Ostrich Pharma USA Co-CEO Stuart Greenberg, “We recognize the enormous need for multiple approaches to the COVID-19 pandemic in the US. In order to be a participant in this war, we will need to immunize large numbers of ostriches, purify large amounts of the antibodies from the ostrich eggs, and get manufacturing capacity to make products, like masks. We will need to develop an approach to marketing, including defining the regulatory path, when appropriate. We expect to team with some key partners to accomplish this.”
About Ostrich Pharma USA
Ostrich Pharma USA, under the trade name “OstriGen,” is exploiting the powerful immune system of the ostrich to develop a revolutionary class of treatments and prophylaxes that are highly effective and economical. The company is developing prophylaxes and treatments for gastrointestinal diseases such as Clostridium difficile, cholera, E. coli, Salmonella, Shigella, and norovirus. OstriGen has worked with partners on developing antibodies to Ebola, MERS, and Zika. Ostrich Pharma USA is headquartered in Cambridge, MA. Visit our website at www.ostrigen.com.
SOURCE: Ostrich Pharma USA