Researchers discover human antibody that blocks infection of Coronavirus
Since December of 2019, scientists and researchers have been working around the world to develop cure and find treatments for the deadly coronavirus. Earlier today, we reported the positive news from pharmaceutical giants after its Ebola drug showed improvement with shorter drug treatment in early trial results. Others like Pfizer and Oxford University are also working on vaccines to provide lasting cure for the virus.
However, as we all know, developing vaccine could take as long as five years. That’s why researchers are taking all-of-the-above measures by looking into therapeutics that can provide immediate relief for coronavirus patients. In a positive news, researchers from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, as well as the Erasmus Medical Centre and the company Harbour BioMed (HBM), have discovered an antibody which prevents coronavirus from infecting human cells.
In a study published in Nature Journal, the researchers found a human monoclonal antibody that neutralizes SARS-CoV-2 (and SARS-CoV) in cell culture. This cross-neutralizing antibody targets a communal epitope on these viruses and may offer potential for prevention and treatment of COVID-19.
The discovery took place while the team’s discovery was made on human cells grown in the laboratory – they are hopeful it will have the same effect on patients. The breakthrough also offers hope of a treatment or even a vaccine for the deadly virus, which has infected over 3.5 million people worldwide, and led at least 248,000 deaths. The study was co-lead by Professor Berend-Jan Bosch, who said the new antibody targets the deadly bug’s infamous ‘spike protein.’
“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,” Prof Bosch, Research leader at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, said.
The coronavirus works by hooking onto a locking point on human cells to insert its genetic material, make multiples copies of itself and spread throughout the body. The antibody binds to an enzyme called ACE2 that acts as the viruses ‘doorway’ to cells. The discovery could lead to a therapy that would be given to somebody immediately after they become infected or exposed.