Scientists discover antibody neutralizes virus causing coronavirus

The path to a cure? Scientists discover antibody that ‘neutralizes’ virus that causes COVID-19 by blocking it from entering cells

  • University of Pittsburgh scientists have isolated a biomolecule that ‘completely and specifically’ neutralizes the virus that causes coronavirus
  • Researchers isolated the smallest biological molecule to date that neutralizes the SARS-CoV-2 virus
  • The antibody component is 10 times smaller than a full-sized antibody and has been used to create a drug known as Ab8 for use as a therapeutic drug 
  • Researchers found that Ab8 is ‘highly effective’ in preventing and treating SARS-CoV-2 infection in mice and hamsters
  • It provides hope that there could soon be an effective treatment for patients with COVID-19 or even protection of those who have never had the infection

Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine say they appear to have made a breakthrough when it comes to the treatment and possible prevention of coronavirus.

Researchers claim to have isolated ‘the smallest biological molecule’ that ‘completely and specifically neutralizes’ the virus that causes coronavirus.

A drug has been created called Ab8 and is an antibody component which is 10 times smaller than regular, full-sized antibody.

University of Pittsburgh scientists have isolated a biomolecule that 'completely and specifically' neutralizes the virus that causes coronavirus

University of Pittsburgh scientists have isolated a biomolecule that ‘completely and specifically’ neutralizes the virus that causes coronavirus

Scientists have been encouraged by trials that appear to have been ‘highly effective in preventing and treating’ the SARS-CoV-2 infections in mice and hamsters.   

Importantly, it does not bind to human cells – a good sign that it won’t have negative side effects in people. 

The drug could be seen as a potential preventative against SARS-CoV-2 according to the researchers at UPMC.

‘Ab8 not only has potential as therapy for COVID-19, but it also could be used to keep people from getting SARS-CoV-2 infections,’ said co-author John Mellors, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Pitt and UPMC.

Researchers isolated the smallest biological molecule to date that neutralizes the SARS-CoV-2 virus, pictured

Researchers isolated the smallest biological molecule to date that neutralizes the SARS-CoV-2 virus, pictured

‘Antibodies of larger size have worked against other infectious diseases and have been well tolerated, giving us hope that it could be an effective treatment for patients with COVID-19 and for protection of those who have never had the infection and are not immune.’  

Researchers now have to find to have people take the drug perhaps either by injection or maybe through inhalation through the nose.  

Ab8 was evaluated by teams of scientists from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) and University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston, as well as the University of British Columbia and University of Saskatchewan. 

All noted how it appeared to stop the virus from entering cells. 

The mice who were given Ab8 had ten times less infectious virus than those rodents who were not treated with the new drug. 

The new drug was evaluated by teams of scientists from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) and University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston, as well as the University of British Columbia and University of Saskatchewan

The new drug was evaluated by teams of scientists from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) and University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston, as well as the University of British Columbia and University of Saskatchewan

Scientist are now working on a way to deliver the drug for use in human trials and are looking at injections or possibly inhalation as methods

Scientist are now working on a way to deliver the drug for use in human trials and are looking at injections or possibly inhalation as methods

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