When vaccines and targeted therapeutics are currently lacking to treat COVID-19, the experts at Utrecht University have identified a "fully human" monoclonal antibody that prevents the coronavirus from infecting cultured cells. This discovery is an initial yet important step towards developing a fully human antibody that can treat or prevent COVID-19.

Monoclonal antibodies targeting sited on viral protein surfaces have become increasingly recognized as a promising class of drugs against infectious disease alongside exhibiting therapeutic efficacy.

“This research builds on the work our groups have done in the past on antibodies targeting the SARS-CoV that emerged in 2002/2003. Using this collection of SARS-CoV antibodies, we identified an antibody that also neutralizes infection of SARS-CoV-2 in cultured cells. Such a neutralizing antibody has the 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," MedicalXpress quoted Berend-Jan Bosch, Associate Professor, Research leader at Utrecht University, and co-lead author of the study as saying.

Here’s everything you need to know about the coronavirus neutralizing monoclonal antibodies:

  • The human mAb 47D11 is the first reported human monoclonal antibody that neutralized SARS-CoV-2.
  • It will be useful for developing antigen detection tests as well as serological assays targeting SARS-CoV-2.
  • They target the trimeric spike proteins located on the viral surface that mediate its entry into the host cells.
  • They target the receptor interaction site in the S protein subunit and disables the receptor interactions.
  • 47D11 binds to the cells expressing the full-length spike proteins of both SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2.
  • It neutralizes SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 via a mechanism that is not known yet, which is entirely different from receptor-binding interference.
  • It can alter the course of infection and protect an uninfected host that is exposed to the virus. It can act alone or in combination to prevent and/or treat COVID-19.

"This cross-neutralizing antibody targets a communal epitope on these viruses and may offer the potential for prevention and treatment of COVID-19," concluded the authors in their study published in Nature.

This discovery forms the base for additional research to characterize this antibody to start developing the potential COVID-19 treatment. Since the antibody is fully human, it can reduce the potential of immune-related side effects.

“This is groundbreaking research. Much more work is needed to assess whether this antibody can protect or reduce the severity of disease in humans. We expect to advance the development of the antibody with partners," MedicalXpress quoted Dr. Jingsong Wang, Founder, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of HBM.

Coronavirus treatment Matryx, Pixabay