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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A tiny antibody discovered in a Pittsburgh lab may be a huge medical breakthrough in the fight against the coronavirus.

UPMC held a press conference Tuesday to explain more about their possible breakthrough: a tiny antibody component that can neutralize the coronavirus.

To date, this is the smallest molecule to completely and specially neutralize the virus that causes COVID-19.

It’s been used to construct a drug for use against the virus.

The antibody component is 10 times smaller than a full-sized antibody and has been used to create a drug known as Ab8 for use as a therapeutic and preventative against SARS-CoV-2, says a report published Monday in the journal Cell.

.@PittTweet researchers have created a drug they call “Ab8” that holds the potential to treat #COVID19 and prevent infection in susceptible populations.

Abound Bio, a newly formed UPMC-backed company, has licensed Ab8 for worldwide development.


— UPMC (@UPMCnews) September 15, 2020

The researchers reported that Ab8 is “highly effective” in preventing and treating SARS-CoV-2 infection in mice and hamsters. There are also good signs that it won’t have negative side effects in people.

Doctors say this drug could be used for more than a therapy for COVID-19, but that it could also be used to keep people from getting infected with the virus.

Ab8 has been licensed for worldwide development by Abound Bio, a newly formed UPMC-backed company. Clinical trials, which require FDA approval, will start in the beginning of 2021.

Dr. John Mellors explained that this isn’t the same as a vaccine.

“When we give a vaccine, we induce lots of different antibodies of different potency,” he said. “Here, with this antibody, we’re giving a uniform, potent biomolecule that’s sole function is to block the virus.”

As for pricing? Mellors said it’s too early to talk about that.

“On a positive note, the cost of manufacturing antibodies is falling rapidly as the ability to produce increases,” he said. “And there are very, very, very few silver linings to COVID, but one of them will be the world will be better prepared to produce biologics like vaccines and antibodies to treat this pandemic — and heaven forbid — the next one.”

Stay with KDKA for Meghan Schiller’s full report starting at 4 p.m.

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Tags: pittsburgh news coronavirus local tv meghan schiller university of pittsburgh upmc pittsburgh news

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Progressives kill Brooklyn project that would’ve created 20,000 jobs over gentrification concerns — and even the NYT pans them

A host of progressive politicians and community groups in Brooklyn recently killed a major business project that would have created as many as 20,000 jobs in the city at a time when it is struggling to regain its footing amid the coronavirus pandemic.

What are the details?

The project — approved by the city planning commission — which called for rezoning and expanding the Industry City complex on the Brooklyn waterfront in Sunset Park into a burgeoning retail space, was yanked this week amid a pressure campaign from the left.

Why were progressives so outraged over the job-creating project? Because it would have led to more "displacement and gentrification" among the working-class community, a group of 10 Democratic lawmakers, including members of Congress, argued in an opposition letter this week.

Even the New York Times took note of the unfortunate politics at play in a recent write-up on the news:

It was slated to be one of the biggest real estate projects in New York City in years, a major expansion of the Industry City complex on the Brooklyn waterfront that could have created as many as 20,000 jobs at a time when local unemployment has soared because of the pandemic.

But on Tuesday night, the project's owner canceled the expansion in the face of fierce opposition from left-leaning Democrats, ending the biggest clash over development in the city since the collapse of the Amazon deal in Queens last year, and highlighting the growing influence of the left in local politics.What are they saying?

In a statement announcing the withdrawal of the application, Industry City CEO Andrew Kimball blamed "the current political environment and a lack of leadership" for the project's failure.

"Over and over, we have heard from key decision makers that while the substance of the project is strong, the politics of the moment do not allow them to support any private development project," Kimball said, according to the Gothamist. "Even the historic nature of our commitments — which significantly elevated the bar for future development projects — and a seven-year record of creating jobs and opportunity weren't enough to overcome purely political considerations."

"If a project like this can't succeed, it concerns me very much about the future of New York City — a place I've spent my whole life," Kimball added in an interview with the Times on Wednesday.

Far from concerned, Sunset Park Councilman Carlos Menchaca championed the project's defeat as "a win" for the community.

Industry City has withdrawn their application. A WIN FOR SUNSET PARK! People power has triumphed ✊????. Our work conti… — Carlos Menchaca 萬齊家 (@Carlos Menchaca 萬齊家)1600865903.0

Menchaca had come out against the rezoning months ago and, on Tuesday, he was joined by other Democratic New York lawmakers, including Reps. Jerrold Nadler, Nydia Velázquez, Yvette Clark, and Hakeem Jeffries.

The group wrote in the opposition letter that the project "would further exacerbate real estate pressures, displacement, rising rents, and forever shift the nature of the waterfront away from one of the few remaining manufacturing hubs to commercial tourism and service economy."

Another city councilman, Eric Ulrich of Queens, disagreed. He told a Times reporter: "We are sending such a terrible message to the rest of the country that we're not open for business, and we're not open to economic development and new jobs."

He was even more straightforward on Twitter, writing, "NYC is going to s**t. God save us!"

Anything else?

New York City is projected to lose at least half a million jobs this year as a result of the coronavirus-related economic shutdowns, and the city's unemployment rate is currently 16%. It is estimated that low-income workers of color are being disproportionately affected by the downturn.

Yet even so, progressives in the city have proven themselves to be more concerned with gentrification than job creation.

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