Scientists Find Antibody That 'Neutralizes' Virus Causing COVID-19 in Big Breakthrough

Grant Boone
September 16, 2020

They said that it is the world's smallest biological molecule that neutralizes explicitly the SARS-CoV-2, which causes the novel coronavirus.

Scientists have used the antibody to construct a drug known as Ab8, which can potentially be used to prevent SARS-CoV-2.

The research is done in conjunction with scientists from the University of North Carolina (UNC) and the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB).

The drug, called Ab8, has been effective in preventing and treating covid-19 in mice and hamsters. The size also helps in administering the drug by alternative routes, such as inhalation.

One of the world's largest efforts to find effective COVID-19 treatments will evaluate the impact of REGN-COV2, an investigational antibody cocktail, on mortality, hospital stays, and the need for ventilation.

What Do The Researchers Say About The Discovery Of The Antibody?

In a membrane protein array assay, the team found that ab8 did not bind to any of the 5,300 human membrane-associated proteins, suggesting that it is highly specific and therefore has a low potential for off-target toxicities in vivo. They are better able to penetrate tissues and have faster clearance rates compared to full-size antibodies, while maintaining high stability and affinity to antigens.

The antibody component is the variable, heavy chain (VH) domain of an immunoglobulin.

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"Its small size might allow it to be given as an inhaled drug or intradermally, rather than intravenously through an IV drip, like most monoclonal antibodies now in development", the report says.

Ab8 could have its worldwide development since it was already licensed by Abound Bio, a newly formed UPMC-backed company.

Convalescent plasma - blood plasma taken from patients who have recovered from SARS-CoV-2 and therefore contains anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies - is now being tested in clinical trials as a treatment for those battling COVID-19. In the ensuing years, his team discovered potent antibodies against many other infectious diseases, including those caused by MERS-CoV, dengue, Hendra and Nipah viruses.

Scientists discovered a new antibody that could possibly neutralize COVID-19 by preventing it from entering the human cells. Researchers mentioned that the molecule has been used to develop a drug - Ab8 - for potential use as a therapeutic and prophylactic against SARS-CoV-2.

The mice who were given Ab8 had ten times less infectious virus than those rodents who were not treated with the new drug.

"The pandemic is a global challenge facing humanity, but biomedical science and human ingenuity are likely to overcome it", said Mellors, also Distinguished Professor of Medicine, who holds the Endowed Chair for Global Elimination of HIV and AIDS at Pitt.

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