Fox News reports that scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have isolated a biological molecule that “completely and specifically neutralizes”  the virus that causes COVID-19.

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The antibody is 10 times smaller than a standard antibody and has in tests been used to create the drug Ab8, according to a report published in the journal Cell on Monday. The drug has been described as a potential preventative against SARS-CoV-2.

Researchers say the drug may be able to be inhaled or given through an injection, instead of an IV.

The report, states that the drug has been “highly effective in preventing and treating” the SARS-CoV-2 infections in mice and hamsters during tests. The drug also reportedly according to early studies may not have negative side-effects in people.

“Ab8 not only has potential as therapy for COVID-19, but it also could be used to keep people from getting SARS-CoV-2 infections,” said co-author John Mellors, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Pitt and UPMC. “Antibodies of larger size have worked against other infectious diseases and have been well tolerated, giving us hope that it could be an effective treatment for patients with COVID-19 and for protection of those who have never had the infection and are not immune.”

According to the report, the team at University of Texas Medical Branch Center for Biodefense and Emerging Diseases and Galveston National Laboratory tested the drug and found it blocked the virus from entering cells in trials with mice.

The results of the study are some of the most promising to date in the treatment and prevention of the virus.

READ MORE: See how some companies are changing their businesses to combat COVID-19

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