Brazilian scientists create serum with horse antibodies capable of neutralizing COVID-19

A serum entirely developed in Brazil showed neutralizing antibodies up to 50 times more potent against Sars-CoV-2 than those present in the blood plasma of people who had COVID-19. The result was considered excellent by the scientists who developed the product and paves the way for a more efficient treatment against the disease. The researchers await authorization from the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) to begin testing the serum in humans.

Plasma from people who have had COVID is already being used to treat the disease, as a way to offer extra antibodies to patients who are still struggling to fight the virus. The serum principle is similar.

The difference is that it is being produced on horses and, according to the first results, it is much more potent. These antibodies are then purified and can be injected into patients.

“We have to do everything very carefully so as not to create false illusions”, pondered the president of the Rio Research Foundation (Faperj), Jerson Lima Silva, who is a researcher at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and participated in the project. “But the response was impressive, well above our expectations.”

The work will be submitted for publication on Thursday, 13, in a scientific session at the National Academy of Medicine (ANM). On the same occasion, Lima Silva, who is a researcher at UFRJ and participates in the project, will announce the filing of a serum patent.

In May, five horses from the Vital Brazil Institute (IVB) were inoculated with a recombinant S protein from the coronavirus produced at Coppe / UFRJ. After 70 days, the plasmas of four animals showed antibodies 20 to 50 times more potent against COVID-19. The fifth animal also showed antibodies but in a smaller volume.

“We are all thrilled with the result”, said the president of Instituto Vital Brazil, Adilson Stolet. “It was very good, excellent, wonderful.”

According to Lima Silva, one of the reasons for obtaining such a good immune response, both in terms of detected antibodies and its ability to kill the virus, is that scientists used an entire recombinant protein and not just fragments.

The protein S produced at the Cell Culture Engineering Laboratory at Coppe / UFRJ also led to the development of a new serological test for the detection of antibodies to COVID-19.

Serotherapy is a successful treatment, used for decades against diseases such as rabies and tetanus and also for the bites of bees, snakes and other venomous animals, such as spiders and scorpions. Serums produced by IVB have excellent results for clinical use, with no history of hypersensitivity or other possible adverse reactions.

“One of the advantages is precise that we have been using serums for a century, such as anti-phage and anti-tetanus,” said Adilson Stolet. “Not to mention the volume of plasma that can be produced. We have 300 animals, but we can buy another 500; in two months we would have an enormous amount of antibodies.”

As it is a well-known technology, the researchers hope to be able to skip the pre-clinical testing phase and go straight to testing with humans. There is already a partnership signed with the DOr Research and Teaching Institute (IDOR) for testing.

“Even if we do not achieve 100% efficiency, it could be a strategy to also combine this therapy with the vaccine”, concluded Lima Silva.

News from: UOL


Federal Regional Court decides that the term “Botox” is a trademark and rejects the request to cancel the registration

After nine years awaiting a decision at the second instance and 14 years after the lawsuit was filed, the 11th Panel of the Federal Regional Court of the 3rd Region decided that the term “Botox” is a trademark and is not to be confused with the substance botulinum toxin. The discussion took place in Civil Appeal 0000616-76.2006.4.03.6100 / SP and the decision was unanimous.

The lawsuit was filed by the appellant Cristália Produtos Químicos Farmacêuticos LTDA against Allergan Inc and the Brazilian Patent Office (BPTO).

Cristália claimed that the word “Botox” is indicative of the chemical substance botulinum toxin and therefore it would not be subject to registration. Therefore, the appellant requested the annulment of the trademark registration, owned by Allergan.

The lawsuit was filed in 2006. In a judgment rendered in the first instance, the 19th Federal Civil Court of São Paulo dismissed the lawsuit, but Cristália appealed to the second instance and continued arguing that the registration was in disagreement with the trademark legislation, since the name in question derives from a substance widely used in neurological and aesthetic treatments, and it does not serve to distinguish only the product manufactured by the defendant according to Article 124, VI and XVIII, of Law 9.279 / 96, the Brazilian Industrial Property Law.

However, according to judge Nino Toldo, rapporteur of the case at TRF3, the BPTO’s act of granting the registration of the trademark was “perfectly valid”. The magistrate concluded that the term “Botox” presents the three elements provided for in art. 122 of Law No. 9,279 / 96, necessary to obtain protection and registration as a trademark: Distinctiveness – because it differentiates the product from the company Allergan from those manufactured by other laboratories, such as Botulift (Laboratório Bergamo) and Prosigne (Laboratório Cristália), among others; visually perceptible signs – captured by sight and not by other senses; and no legal prohibition – considering the fences listed in art. 124 of the Industrial Property Law.

Still, the judge understood that the generic character pointed out by Cristália was not characterized in the specific case, because the term “Botox” represents an evocative and suggestive mark of its main component, the botulinum toxin.

“More specifically with regard to its generic character, it should be noted that the word ‘Botox’ is not used to describe the chemical substance itself, which is its main component, and there is no need to speak, therefore, of prohibiting its registration as a trademark. Such a word, by the way, is perfectly capable of individualizing a specific product, within its segment of operation ”, said the judge in his decision.

The vote of the rapporteur judge was followed by all magistrates who are members of the 11th Panel and, by unanimous decision, Cristália’s appeal was denied, the decision of the lower court being upheld.

News from: JOTA