Antiserum is blood-based serum containing antibodies against viruses.
The therapy works like plasma therapy. However, the blood plasma is obtained from animals — from horses, in this case — that have recovered from a viral infection and found to have antibodies against the virus in their system. Antibodies from horses, known as equine antisera, are quite common.
“Equine sera-based treatment modality thus stands out as yet another remarkable public health initiative supported by ICMR in the time of Covid-19,” the research body tweeted.
Antibodies from animals have been used to control many viral and bacterial infections such as rabies, Hepatitis B, vaccine virus, tetanus, botulism and diphtheria.
In June, the ICMR had invited drugmakers to produce equine antiserum against Covid-19. The equine antiserum was isolated by the ICMR-led National Institute of Virology, Pune.
The plasma recovered from patients experiencing Covid-19 could serve a similar purpose, the ICMR said in a series of tweets, adding that the “profile of antibodies, their efficacy and concentration keep varying from one patient to another and therefore make it an unreliable clinical tool for patient management”.