While experts continue to warn that ignoring COVID-19 and the 15,000 deaths a day it causes is a grave mistake, it has become clear that a lasting solution to the virus requires something that neutralizes all variants of the coronavirus or we will run out. risk of constantly falling behind. Now Harvard researchers think they’ve found just that: a single antibody that neutralizes all known SARS-CoV-2 variants in their lab tests.
The antibody could be used within existing vaccination strategies to finally end the constant cycle, if the results are properly transferred to human trials. The findings were published in Science Immunology.
“We hope this antibody will prove to be as effective in patients as it has been in preclinical evaluations to date,” said Frederick Alt, the HMS Charles A. Janeway Professor of Pediatrics at Boston Children’s and a senior investigator on the study. , in a statement.
“If so, it could provide a new therapeutic agent and also contribute to new vaccine strategies.”
To create a broad-spectrum antibody for multiple variants, the researchers turned to mouse models previously created for HIV research. These mice have turned into models of our own immune system, identifying foreign pathogens and undergoing the same experimental moves to create antibodies that neutralize them. In this way, the mice are essentially mini-machines that can efficiently deliver new antibodies for use in therapies.
When exposed to the original SARS-CoV-2 strain first identified in Wuhan, the mouse models created nine different types of antibodies that were able to bind to the virus, although they did not neutralize all of them. Further tests identified that three of these were able to strongly neutralize the original strain, but one, called SP1-77, was even more impressive – it could also neutralize alpha, beta, delta, gamma and especially omicron variants .
But how can it stop the virus if the spike proteins look different because of their different mutations? SP1-77 does not act on the same regions as many other antibodies, instead opting for a region that has not yet been mutated in SARS-CoV-2.
“SP1-77 binds the spike protein at a site that has not yet been mutated in any variant, and it neutralizes these variants through a novel mechanism,” said Tomas Kirchhausen, professor of cell biology at the Blavatnik Institute at HMS.
“These traits can contribute to its broad and vigorous activity.”
The researchers have now filed for patents and hope the work can be commercially produced once the results are verified in human trials.
#antibody #neutralizes #COVID19 #variants