Scientists Develop Antibody Capable Of Killing Novel Coronavirus In Lab

Scientists found a new way to help eliminate COVID-19. An experimental antibody appeared effective to kill the novel coronavirus in the lab and experts hope it could speed up development of treatment for the disease.

The new study, published in the journal Nature Communications, shows that the new monoclonal antibody, called 47D11, could neutralize the virus in cell cultures. It mainly targets the spike protein that helps the coronavirus invade human cells.

Researchers from Utrecht University in the Netherlands created the COVID-19-fighting antibody using special proteins that resemble those that the body produces when fighting off bacteria and viruses. Monoclonal antibodies are known as highly potent but they target only one site on a virus, Bloomberg reported Monday.

The team tested the potential COVID-19 treatment with genetically modified mice. The 47D11 appeared effective in neutralizing the virus. 

“Monoclonal antibodies targeting vulnerable sites on viral surface proteins are increasingly recognized as a promising class of drugs against infectious diseases and have shown therapeutic efficacy for a number of viruses,” researchers said in the report. 

Aside from COVID-19, the monoclonal antibody also fought other diseases related to the coronavirus, such as SARS. The research team has already created a fully human version of the monoclonal antibody. 

It is not the first time that scientists created monoclonal antibodies to treat diseases. Some drug manufacturers have been using the same approach to help fight some forms of cancer, such as Merck & Co.’s Keytruda and Roche Holding AG’s Herceptin.

AbbVie also used monoclonal antibody to produce its blockbuster inflammation treatment Humira. Meanwhile, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and other companies have launched experiments to see how the method could help develop treatments for the coronavirus.

The 47D11 study is still in its initial stages. Researchers plan to conduct another study in a clinical setting to see how the antibody directly affects COVID-19 and eliminates the virus.

“Such a neutralizing 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,” Berend-Jan Bosch, researcher from Utrecht University, said, as quoted by the Guardian

Coronavirus & COVID-19 An artist's representation of the novel coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 disease. Pixabay