An Improved Antibody Can Prevent COVID-19

Sep, 2020 - By SMI

An Improved Antibody Can Prevent COVID-19

The novel coronavirus named SARS-CoV-2 has developed many mutations during the rapid spread around the world.

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19 pandemic) continues to infect millions of individuals and cost thousands of lives around the world whereas scientists/researchers continue to establish effective and safe remedies or vaccines for the disease. To date, the virus has made its way to almost every corner of the world. However, now, a new study published in June 2020 in bioRxiv, an open-access preprint server shows the ability of a new molecule named a biparatopic protein to inhibit viral interactions with the host cell ACE2 receptor. This may have therapeutic applications.

The coronaviruses are spreading across the globe from the past two decades. They cause respiratory tract infections that can range from mild to deadly. To date, there have been 7 coronaviruses that caused illness in humans, including the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (MERS) outbreaks. Moreover, at present, there is no vaccine or treatment available against any coronavirus. During this research, the researchers used a fusion protein to form a recombinant bivalent ACE2 molecule (composed of Fc domain and ACE2) with the increasing affinity for the viral S1 protein to make it more potent at inhibiting viral entry.

The team describes a bipolar molecule prepared from the fusion of recombinant ACE2 (89C8-ACE2) with antibody 89C8. This molecule binds to the N-terminal domain (NTD) of the S1 subunit of the S protein. Moreover, this molecule has a higher neutralizing ability and binding affinity, which has been shown by the researchers on both virus infectivity and pseudotyping. Since it does not bind to the receptor-binding domain, it has the potential to block other coronaviruses as well. The receptor-binding domain (RBD) can escape binding through mutations. To avoid this, the team provides a more universal design for a therapeutic drug that can also be extended to other infectious diseases.

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