Antibody fragments may be exceptionally effective against SARS-CoV-2

  • Antibody fragments may be exceptionally effective against SARS-CoV-2

Antibody fragments may be exceptionally effective against SARS-CoV-2

The component, now developed into a drug called Ab8, was highly effective at treating and preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection in animal models.

"Today's news is another promising step in the search to find effective treatments, which will improve our ability to deal with this destructive virus, and a testament to the confidence that others around the world have in this brilliantly conceived and executed trial".

"The pandemic is a global challenge facing humanity, but biomedical science and human ingenuity are likely to overcome it", said Mellors, also Distinguished Professor of Medicine, who holds the Endowed Chair for Global Elimination of HIV and AIDS at Pitt.

What Do The Researchers Say About The Discovery Of The Antibody?

Convalescent plasma - blood plasma taken from patients who have recovered from SARS-CoV-2 and therefore contains anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies - is now being tested in clinical trials as a treatment for those battling COVID-19.

Dimitrov's team has since discovered antibodies that battle a host of other infectious diseases including MERS, dengue, Hendra and Nipah viruses.

They sifted through large libraries of antibody components made using human blood samples and found multiple therapeutic candidates, including Ab8.

Experts said that it was selected in part based on its emerging safety profile in humans, pre-clinical data showing it could protect against viral escape mutations, and prevention and treatment studies in non-human primates showing it reduced the amount of virus and associated damage in the lungs.

It doesn't bind to human cells but only to virus cells thus eliminating any side effects.

The small antibody is the variable, heavy chain (VH) domain of an immunoglobulin, a kind of antibody usually found in the blood. "And this is extremely potent, and so we should be able to have a greater impact, and we also may be able to deliver the antibody by alternative means than in the vein".

Those delivery methods include an injection under the skin or inhalation, he said.

"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. Both a vaccination and a drug like Ab8 will be critical to reducing the impact of covid-19, especially among vulnerable populations whose immune systems need help beyond a vaccine. There are good reasons to be excited about this new development - RECOVERY will provide a robust assessment of the effect of this lab-manufactured monoclonal antibody combination treatment in hospitalized patients. Scientists worldwide are racing to produce a safe and effective vaccine.