All Known COVID-19 Variants Are Neutralized by a New Antibody

3 mins read

It has become evident that a long-term cure for the virus will require something that neutralizes all coronavirus types, or we risk perpetually falling behind. Experts continue to warn that ignoring COVID-19 and the 15,000 fatalities it is causing every day is a catastrophic mistake. Now, Harvard scientists think they have discovered precisely that — a single antibody that, in their lab tests, neutralizes all known SARS-CoV-2 variations.

If the results translate well to human trials, the antibody might be incorporated into current immunization efforts to eventually break the vicious cycle. Science Immunology published the findings.

As a principal investigator on the trial and the HMS Charles A. Janeway Professor of Pediatrics at Boston Children’s, Frederick Alt said, “We hope this antibody will show to be as beneficial in patients as it has been in preclinical tests so far.

If so, “it might offer a new therapy and also support new vaccine techniques.”

The researchers used mouse models developed for HIV research in order to develop a broad-spectrum antibody against various variations. The immune systems of these mice have been made into replicas of our own, which recognizes alien diseases and follows the same steps of trial and error to produce antibodies that neutralize them. In this approach, the mice function as little machines that can effectively produce new antibodies for therapeutic purposes.

The mice models developed nine distinct types of antibodies that could attach to the virus, albeit not all of them were able to neutralize it, after being exposed to the original SARS-CoV-2 strain discovered in Wuhan. Additional testing revealed that three of them had a strong ability to neutralize the original strain, but SP1-77 was even more remarkable because it was also capable of neutralizing alpha, beta, delta, gamma, and, most crucially, omicron variations.

But given that the spike proteins have undergone diverse changes, how is it able to halt the virus? In contrast to many other antibodies, SP1-77 targets a site that has not yet undergone mutation in any SARS-CoV-2.

According to Tomas Kirchhausen, professor of cell biology at the Blavatnik Institute at HMS, “SP1-77 binds the spike protein at a location that so far has not been altered in any variant, and it neutralizes these variants by a unique method.”

These characteristics could be a factor in its extensive and powerful action.

After the findings are confirmed in human studies, the researchers intend to commercialize their work and have already filed for patents.

Ali Esen

Istanbul University, Department of Mathematics. Interested in science and technology.

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