South Korean biopharmaceutical company Celltrion has developed new human monoclonal antibodies, which can be used against a broad spectrum of influenza viruses, including the deadly pandemic H1N1 and H5N1 avian flu viruses.

Preliminary tests in laboratory animals indicate that the novel human monoclonal antibodies can be used to prevent disease when given either before or after infection.

Celltrion’s monoclonal antibodies were evaluated by in vitro microneutralisation assays and in vivo animal studies using seasonal or pandemic H1, pandemic H2 and endemic H5 virus subtypes.

One of the antibodies, CT120, blocked infection by all of the viruses in microneutralisation tests and showed prophylactic and therapeutic effect on H5N1 and prophylactic effect on pandemic and seasonal H1 viruses in mice.

Celltrion chairman and CEO Jung-Jin Seo said that the company was very excited with these results, and would do its best to move forward into clinical trials as quickly as possible.

The discovery is the result of an international collaboration among the US CDC Influenza Division, the Severance Hospital and Seoul National University Hospital in Korea, SC World in Japan, and Celltrion.