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Antibodies Discovered Blocking COVID-19 Infection in Cells

London / Several researchers have identified a human monoclonal antibody that prevents the SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19) from infecting cultured cells, which is the first step in developing a treatment against the disease, as reported in the journal Nature Communications.

With this discovery, led by researchers from the University of Utrecht, the Erasmus Medical Center and the Harbor BioMed (HBM), the scientists hope that it will help develop human antibodies to treat or prevent the COVID-19 respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus. SARS-CoV-2.

The COVID-19 pandemic has spread rapidly throughout the world, infecting more than 3.3 million people and causing the death of more than 235,000 patients so far.

“This research is a continuation of the work that our groups have done in the past with antibodies targeting the SARS-CoV that emerged in 2002/2003,” said Berend-Jan Bosch, a researcher at the University of Utrecht.

“Using this collection of SARS-CoV antibodies, we have identified an antibody that also neutralizes SARS-CoV-2 infection in cultured cells. This neutralizing antibody has the potential to alter the course of infection in the infected host, support virus clearance, or protect an individual who is not infected (but) exposed to the virus, ”said Bosch.

Ability to neutralize SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2

This researcher noted that the antibody binds to a domain that is conserved in both SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2, which explains its ability to neutralize both viruses.

“This cross-neutralization characteristic of the antibody is very interesting and suggests that it may have the potential to mitigate future coronavirus-related illnesses,” added Bosch.

“This discovery provides a solid basis for additional research to characterize this antibody and begin to develop possible treatments for COVID-19,” said Frank Grosveld, another of the authors of the research.

A “fully human” antibody

“This antibody used in this work is‘ fully human, ‘”added Grosveld.

Conventional therapeutic antibodies are first developed in other species and must then undergo additional treatment to “humanize” them, the article states.

HBM President Jingsong Wang said there is more work to be done to determine if this antibody can protect or reduce the severity of the disease in humans.

“We believe that our technology can help meet this urgent public health need and we are pursuing other avenues of research,” he added. (May 5, 2020, EFE / PracticaEspañol)

(Automatic translation)

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