Antibody that could neutralise coronavirus found by University of Pittsburgh

Antibody that could neutralise coronavirus found by University of Pittsburgh

They claim that this small-sized biological molecule can completely neutralize the SARS-Cov-2 virus that causes Covid-19.

The antibody component is 10 times smaller than a full-sized antibody, and has been used to create the drug Ab8, shared in the report published by the researchers in the journal Cell on Monday. Due to the smaller size, it can easily diffuse into the tissues and effectively neutralizes the virus. This is good because it means that it will not have negative side-effects in humans.

The researchers, including an Indian origin researcher, from the University of British Columbia in Canada, discovered that the drug is highly effective in preventing and treating SARS-CoV-2 infection in mice and hamsters. It helps in making a drug, namely "Ab8", which may prove helpful as a therapeutic and prophylactic against SARS-CoV-2.

He added that larger antibodies have been effective against other infectious diseases, giving the world a hope that they could also cure and prevent COVID-19 infections.

The ELISA tests, or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, look at whether antibodies against specific SARS-CoV-2 proteins are present and produce a quantitative measure of those antibodies. "Studies like this are also relatively easy to do, so we think they have the potential to be useful tools for identification of places or population subgroups with higher vulnerability".

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Abound Bio, a newly formed UPMC-backed company, has in-licensed the rights to Ab8 for global development. Regeneron's drug is a combination of two human neutralising antibodies. "We hope that the antibodies we have discovered will contribute to that triumph". This corresponds to the specificity of an antibody molecule towards a particular virus.

Hospital Services Supervisor Jennifer Crane locates a convalescent plasma sample with COVID-19 antibodies in freezer storage while preparing it for shipment to a local hospital at the Bloodworks Northwest Laboratory during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Renton, Washington, U.S. September 9, 2020.

The UPMC and Pitt researchers are collaborating with scientists at the University of North Carolina, University of Texas Medical Branch, the University of British Columbia and University of Saskatchewan.

"The Pitt team found the component of immunoglobulin by "'fishing' in a pool of more than 100 billion potential candidates" using the spike protein of the COVID-19 virus as "bait", according to the news release.

Professor Fiona Watt, Executive Chair of the UK's Medical Research Council, highlighted that the RECOVERY trial has previously found the "most clinically effective" treatment for COVID-19 so far in dexamethasone. They found that ab8 significantly decreased infectious virus by 10-fold at two days post infection even at a very low dose of 2 mg/kg in mouse models, compared to untreated counterparts.

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