Antibody-related Breakthrough is Hope Against Covid-19

Henrietta Strickland
May 5, 2020

Five newly discharged patients had high concentrations of neutralising antibodies that bind to a pseudovirus expressing the SARS-CoV-2 S protein, the researchers said. This is what allows the virus to attach and invade cells to deliver its genetic material.

Compared to healthy controls, both newly discharged and follow-up patients showed higher levels of IgM and IgG antibodies that bind to the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein, which encapsulates the viral genomic RNA, as well as the S protein's receptor-binding domain (S-RBD), which binds to receptors on host cells during the process of viral entry.

This new information gives hope that a treatment can be found for this coronavirus, which is responsible for the death of over 235,000 people globally.

Medical researchers have found that SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, can infect cells of the intestine and multiply there.

Experts said the antibody, if inserted into humans, could change the "course of infection" or prevent an uninfected person who has come into contact with someone with the virus.

'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 co-lead author Professor Berend-Jan Bosch at Utrecht University. "A sufficiently attenuated virus would no longer be able to cause disease, but would still enable the immune system to react to the pathogen and, for example, produce neutralizing antibodies", says Hoffmann, first author of the study.

'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, ' he added. Understanding how coronaviruses infect humans and what cells they target is a crucial part of understanding, preventing, and treating infection during future outbreaks.

In the new study using state-of-the-art cell culture models of the human intestine, the researchers have successfully propagated the virus in vitro, and monitored the response of the cells to the virus, providing a new cell culture model for the study of COVID-19. "SARS-CoV-2 variants, in which the activation sequence for furin has been removed, could be used as a basis for the development of such live attenuated vaccines, since the lack of cleavage of the spike protein should greatly limit the spread of the virus in the body".

However, scientists claim that it can also neutralise SARS-CoV-2, which is from the same family of coronaviruses as SARS-CoV-1.

Further studies are planned to see if the findings translate to the clinic.

"Much more work is needed to assess whether this antibody can protect or reduce the severity of disease in humans", said Dr Jingsong Wang, Harbour BioMed's founder and CEO.

The antibody-47D11-was made with H2L2 transgenic mouse technology from Harbour BioMed, a company based out of the US.

"We expect to advance the 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".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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