Researchers identify monoclonal antibody to neutralise COVID-19
An antibody that neutralises both SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 in cell cultures has been discovered by researchers and could be used to treat COVID-19.
A fully human monclonal antibody (mAb) that prevents the SARS-CoV-2 virus from infecting cultured cells has been identified by researchers.
From Utrecht University and Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands, along with Harbour BioMed (HBM), the researchers say this mAb could be used to treat or prevent the COVID-19 disease, caused by SARS-CoV-2.
“This research builds on the work our groups have done in the past on antibodies targeting the SARS-CoV that emerged in 2002/2003,” said Berend-Jan Bosch, Associate Professor and research leader at Utrecht University, as well as co-lead author. “Using this collection of SARS-CoV antibodies, we identified an antibody that also neutralises infection of SARS-CoV-2 in cultured cells. Such a neutralising antibody has potential to alter the course of infection in the infected host, support virus clearance or protect an uninfected individual that is exposed to the virus.”
Dr Bosch noted that the mAb binds to a domain conserved in both SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2, explaining its ability to neutralise both viruses. “This cross-neutralising feature of the antibody is very interesting and suggests it may have potential in mitigation of diseases caused by future-emerging related coronaviruses.”
“This discovery provides a strong foundation for additional research to characterise this antibody and begin development as a potential COVID-19 treatment,” said Dr Frank Grosveld, co-lead author on the study and Academy Professor of Cell Biology at the Erasmus Medical Center and Founding Chief Scientific Officer at HBM. “The antibody used in this work is ‘fully human’, allowing development to proceed more rapidly and reducing the potential for immune-related side effects.”
Conventional therapeutic antibodies are first developed in other species and then must undergo additional work to ‘humanise’ them. The antibody was generated using HBM’s H2L2 transgenic mouse technology.
“This is groundbreaking research,” said Dr Jingsong Wang, Founder and Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of HBM. “Much more work is needed to assess whether this antibody can protect or reduce the severity of disease in humans. We expect to advance development of the antibody with partners. We believe our technology can contribute to addressing this most urgent public health need and we are pursuing several other research avenues.”
The study was published in Nature Communications.