"We took a series of five antibodies from around 2002 that were able to neutralize SARS," he said. "We were able to use technology in our laboratories to evolve those antibodies against SARS to adapt them to now recognize COVID-19."
The data, he said, only came in over the weekend, which shows they have "extremely potent binders" that are able to neutralize the virus' ability to engage with the surface receptors on cells. It does this by binding around the virus, preventing it from being able to cling to and then enter cells
"It basically neutralizes the virus so it's no longer infectious," he said.
"We tried with five different antibodies because we weren't sure which one would work the best; all five worked. So we have a pretty powerful tool chest available to us right now to produce a final therapeutic," he added.
The antibodies would be delivered to a patient as a shot. Dr Glanville said they were trying to develop an "extremely potent" version, so a recipient wouldn't need much. The shot would flood a person's immune system with antibodies, and would be effective in as little as 20 minutes.
Unlike a vaccine, which introduces a tiny amount of a virus to a system and waits on the body's own immune system to produce antibodies -- and is therefore too late to give to someone already sick, and not ideal for the elderly or immuno-compromised -- this shot will instantly provide the antibodies.
However the down side is that unlike a vaccine, because the body has not learned to make its own antibodies, the shot would only provide protection for about eight weeks, before it would need to be re-administered. But that pre-emptive protection would be invaluable -- especially to doctors and nurses on the front-line treating patients.
Dr Glanville said the antibodies are being sent to the the military for confirmation testing. If the results are positive, he hopes it will be ready for compassionate use in September -- treating patients outside clinical trials.
"We want to make sure when we're ready to release this, we're ready to release it to the entire world," he said.
He praised his "remarkable team" who he said volunteered to work non-stop over nights and weekends on the project.