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In the Long War Against COVID, This Waltham Biotech is Designing a Way to Fight All Variants

Dec 06, 2021   |   The Boston Globe

"The Omicron variant has driven home the reality that COVID-19 may be with us for a long time. But if one of New England's leading biotech thinkers is right, there could soon be a new way to fight it," reports The Boston Globe.

"The day after Thanksgiving, as reports of the variant were circulating, Tillman Gerngross's team at Adagio Therapeutics ran a test that suggested the company's experimental antibody treatment, which is still in clinical trials, would work against Omicron.

"There's a much bigger idea at stake: The therapy is designed to work against all variants of the coronavirus, and also could help prevent disease. Whether it will or not remains to be seen — it is very early. But with questions swirling around how effective vaccines and treatments will be against Omicron and future strains, it's a key moment for Adagio, which has positioned its antibody drug as a supplement to existing options."

..."Gerngross, a prominent scientist-turned-entrepreneur [and Dartmouth Engineering Professor], didn't originally plan to join the fray of companies working on COVID-19 therapeutics. But during the first wave in the spring of 2020, he was intrigued by an idea from his colleague Laura Walker, an expert in antibody science.

"Given the time and money it takes to develop drugs, she said, it would make sense to create a monoclonal antibody treatment that would work against COVID-19, any potential variant, and even other SARS-like viruses that might emerge in the future."

..."'[Laura] said that's important, because that's going to make this molecule work when "SARS-CoV-3" [the next coronavirus] comes around, and also make it more useful against variants, which at the time no one was talking about,' Gerngross said."

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