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The two formulations of equine antibodies developed by the institute are capable of inhibiting SARS-CoV-2, as revealed by the analysis
carried out in the level 3 laboratory of the U.S. George Mason University. - Social Security courtesy photo -

Published Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Testing begins for the first medical
treatment against covid-19 made in
Costa Rica

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Social Security announced on Monday that testing began for equine antibodies made in Costa Rica by the Clodomiro Picado Research Institute to 26 patients with covid-19.

The first patients to receive the treatment were two men and two women, ages range from 43 to 77. This first set of testing marked the beginning of the clinical study of the effect of equine immunoglobulins against SARS-CoV-2, approved by the Central Scientific Ethics Committee of Social Security. This study was also declared a special project of institutional interest by the Board of Directors.

According to Román Macaya-Hayes, president of Social Security, in the investigation phase, patients must sign a consent to participate in the clinical trial. The testing will be made in the following four public hospitals: San Juan de Dios, Mexico, Rafael Ángel Calderón Guardia and the Specialized Patient Care Center with Covid-19, so-called Covid Hospital.

Specialists hope that in one more week, they will have all the spots filled for the study, as the first set of results will be known within a few weeks because covid-19 is an acute disease, Macaya said.

Antibodies are expected to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 before it causes sequelae. Also, the treatment will be applied to hospitalized patients. "We are not going to avoid hospitalizations because this is not an outpatient treatment, patients who have just entered the hospital will be applied to try to stop the evolution of the sequelae from the virus so that they do not reach the intensive care units," Macaya said.

If this procedure is effective, mortality could be lowered and the percentage of patients admitted to intensive care decreased, which would open up more hospital beds.

The two formulations of equine antibodies developed by the institute are capable of inhibiting SARS-CoV-2, as revealed by the analysis carried out in the level 3 laboratory of the U.S. George Mason University.

According to the specialist guideline, one treatment bottle per patient will be applied and two horse antibody formulas will be tested. Specialists are checking to see if there is any difference in the clinical response of the patients.

If the treatment is effective in covid-19 patients, mass production will begin at the institute.

For now, it is contemplated to use 30 horses in the next treatment productions, which would generate 25 thousand bottles per year. With the acquisition of more horses, the production of treatment would increase quickly.

In August the $500,000 donation agreement was signed from the Central American Bank for Economic Integration, CABEI, to the Institute which could help pay and increase the production of treatment against covid-19.

CABEI headquarters are in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and has regional branches in six Central American countries: Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.

As of Monday afternoon, the Ministry of Health reported the following on the statistics of the virus in the country:

833 new covid-19 cases, bringing the total to 29,187 active cases. The ages of patients infected range from a three-month-old baby to a 100-year-old person.

10,554 foreign-born people have been infected with a total of 48,780 cases since March, approximately 21% of the total cases.

• 496 patients are being treated in public hospitals, where 213 patients are in ICU’s in delicate health conditions (ages range from 24 to a 91-year-old person). And 283 patients are in recovery rooms. Most of the infected patients are quarantined in their homes.

• 19,083 coronavirus patients have fully recovered, which is a 39.1% recovery rate.

• 103,331 people have been ruled out.

• 166,786 medical covid-19 tests have been made.

510 deaths of people infected with covid-19 since March, approximately 1% death rate. Of these 195 were women and 315 men. The ages range from 19 to a 100-year-old person.

As of Aug. 31, authorities confirmed the death of 31 foreign-born patients. The youngest and most recent victim was a 19-year-old foreigner who lived in Guanacaste Province. Before then, on July 30, the ministry announced they would not provide updated information on foreign-born people who died from covid-19 in the country, which at the time authorities reported 30 had died from the virus since March.

Readers can see the updated number of total patients in each district at the National Distance Education University on its Covid-19 Map.

As of Monday night, the pandemic has killed 891,240 patients worldwide, according to recent statistics reported by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.

Could the Costa Rican treatment be a possible solution while the vaccine against covid-19 is available?  
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