New York to test COVID-19 treatment with mystery pharma partner: report

As confirmed COVID-19 cases in New York blow past 20,000, the state is teaming up with a pharma partner to test a plasma-based treatment in critically ill patients, Forbes reported Monday.

The clinical trial, slated to start Tuesday, will test transfusions of blood plasma with antibodies against the novel coronavirus taken from patients who have survived COVID-19 infection. It is one of two medical interventions announced by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Monday. The other involves testing the blood of recovered patients for coronavirus antibodies in an effort to clear them to go back to work.

New York has not disclosed its pharma partner yet, Forbes reported.

RELATED: Biopharma's leading treatment hopes against COVID-19

Takeda is working on a plasma-based treatment that has been shown to help those with severe acute viral respiratory infections and could be used as a COVID-19 treatment. And Regeneron has isolated hundreds of neutralizing antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus from a humanized mouse model as well as from humans who have recovered from COVID-19. The New York-based company plans to pick the two best-performing antibodies for a cocktail therapy that can be given to patients fighting infection or to at-risk people before exposure.

Cuomo’s announcement follows another from Sunday in which he said New York would kick off clinical trials this week to study the efficacy of drugs like chloroquine in treating COVID-19 infection. And it’s not just New York that’s testing the generic malaria drug against the novel coronavirus—the French government plans to run larger studies with chloroquine after promising results from a smaller one.

Other companies, such as partners Vir Biotechnology and Alnylam, are working on brand-new drugs for COVID-19. And others still are repurposing drugs they developed for other diseases, such as Gilead Sciences' remdesivir, originally created to fight Ebola, and Moleculin Biotech’s WP1122, a glucose decoy prodrug it aimed to develop for pancreatic cancer and brain cancer.