Antibody Defeats Coronavirus in Lab
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Antibody Defeats Coronavirus in Lab

Scientists have found an early but promising step in the efforts to find treatments to cure COVID-19 by creating a monoclonal antibody that can defeat the new coronavirus in the lab.

The virus in cell cultures has been neutralized by this experimental antibody. According to the study published in Nature Communications journal, this could either alone or in drug combination may help treat or prevent Covid-19 and related diseases in the future and now it is early in the drug development process, yet to be studied in animals and human trials.

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From the Utrecht University in the Netherlands, Berend-Jan Bosch and colleagues wrote in the paper that to know if the findings are confirmed in a clinical setting and how precisely the antibody defeats the virus, more research is needed.

The crown-like shaped spike protein that lets the novel coronavirus to enter human cells is targeted by the antibody known as 47D11. The antibody also defeated the virus causing Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS along with defeating the virus responsible for Covid-19 in the Utrecht experiments.

Proteins that are created in the lab which resemble the natural versions the body raises to fight off bacteria and viruses are the monoclonal antibodies. They target exactly one site on a virus and they are highly potent. To produce different antibodies to the spike proteins of coronaviruses, the researchers used genetically modified mice in this case. A neutralizing activity emerged from 47D11 after a subsequent screening process. Then, to create a fully human version, the researchers reformatted that antibody.

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Bosch and colleagues wrote, “For a number of viruses, monoclonal antibodies have shown therapeutic efficacy and are recognized increasingly as a promising class of drugs against infectious diseases as they target the vulnerable sites on viral surface proteins.”

With medicines such as Roche Holding AG’s Herceptin and Merck & Co.’s Keytruda becoming some of the world’s bestsellers, monoclonal antibodies already sparked a treatment revolution in cancer. The blockbuster inflammation treatment Humira by AbbVie Inc. is also part of the monoclonal antibody family.

In order to find a cure for the COVID-19 infection, companies such as Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. are also working on possible antibody treatments.

 

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Antibody Defeats Coronavirus in Lab