He clinical trial of a hyperimmune equine serum to combat Covid-19 is carried out in patients from 18 hospitals and sanatoriums in Argentinaa spokeswoman for the investigation informed . on Wednesday.

The clinical evaluation phase includes the voluntary participation of 242 patients and its completion is estimated for the month of October, according to the source.

Argentina registers more than 577,000 cases of coronavirus, with almost 12,000 deaths, a mortality rate that, however, is not among the highest in the region.

The experimentation « is based on Equine polyclonal antibodies, obtained by injecting a recombinant SARS-CoV-2 protein into these animals, harmless for them, which causes them to generate a large amount of neutralizing antibodies« Said the press officer Silvina Berta.

The project is carried out by biotechnological firm Inmunova, in cooperation with the state University of San Martín, among other organisms.

« So far, 53% of the clinical study has been completed », which began in July with Argentine investigators, the spokeswoman said.

Serum « It was conceived for passive immunization, which means that the patient is given antibodies against the infectious agent to block it and prevent it from spreading in the body. »added.

Phase 2/3 of the study evaluates the safety and efficacy of the serum in adult patients with moderate to severe disease, within ten days of the onset of symptoms and requiring hospitalization.

After the extraction of plasma (from horses), a process similar to that used when it is extracted from people, « the antibodies are purified and processed, through a biotechnological process »the spokeswoman said.

« In in vitro laboratory tests it demonstrated the ability to neutralize the virus, with a potency around 50 times greater than the average convalescent plasma »he added.

The results of the tests were published in the specialized journal Medicine.

Four other public and private health centers will be incorporated into the program until 22 are completed.

« The laboratory, regardless of the final result, has already begun to produce the serum to have it readily available in the event that it is effective and authorized, » added the informant.

Costa Rica began last week to test a similar treatment in humans, which is expected to obtain the first results in a few weeks, according to authorities.

In Brazil, the Vital Brazil Institute, the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) are preparing to start their trial with equine plasma in Covid-19 patients.