Scientists have identified an antibody that can protect people from COVID-19, its variants, and other types of coronavirus.
The DH1047 antibody works by attaching to the cells of the virus and neutralizing them, preventing them from replicating.
It is effective in both preventing infection and treating a person who is already sick with Covid.
The research team at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (UNC) and Duke University in Durham believe they have found a key element that can help combat the current pandemic and future virus outbreaks.
Researchers have discovered an antibody that is not only effective against Covid, but against all types of coronaviruses that could break out in humans in the future. Pictured: a microscope image of a COVID-19 cell
The DH1047 antibody demonstrated the ability to 100% neutralize the virus cells of COVID-19, SARS and other coronaviruses found in animals
For comparison, two other antibodies that the researchers tested were found to be effective against some, but not all, types of the coronavirus, which can infect both animals and humans. The antibody DH1235 (left) was found to be effective against some viruses, while DH1073 (right) was only effective against SARS (orange).
“This antibody has the potential to be a therapeutic for the current epidemic,” said Dr. Barton Haynes, director of the Duke Human Vaccine Institute and co-author of the study, in a statement.
“It could also be available for future outbreaks if or when other coronaviruses migrate from their natural animal hosts to humans.”
Researchers, who published their results in the journal Science Translational Medicine on Nov. 2, identified more than 1,700 coronavirus antibodies.
Of this pool, 50 were identified that could bind to both Covid and SARS cells – the virus that caused an outbreak in Asia in the early 2000s.
One called DH1047 was particularly effective as it was able to bind to all types of viruses, both animal and human based.
“This antibody binds to the coronavirus at a site that is conserved across numerous mutations and variations,” said Haynes.
“As a result, it can neutralize a wide variety of coronaviruses.”
The antibody was tested in mice and was able to protect the rodents from developing Covid infection after exposure to the virus.
It was also effective against all types of strains, including the highly contagious Delta variant.
Other types of coronavirus that are believed to have the future potential to infect humans have also been tested and neutralized by the antibody.
“The results provide a template for the rational design of universal vaccine strategies that are variant-safe and offer broad protection against known and emerging coronaviruses,” said Dr. Ralph Baric, professor of epidemiology at UNC and co-author of the study.
When they tested the antibody on animals that were already infected, they found that it was effective in reducing the severity of symptoms related to the lungs.
“The therapeutic activity even after mice are infected suggests that this could be a treatment used in the current pandemic, but also stored to allow for the spread of a future outbreak or epidemic with a SARS-related virus prevent “, Dr. David Martinez, co-lead author and researcher at UNC, said in a statement.
Currently, monoclonal antibody treatments are considered to be the most effective in treating Covid.
The treatment pumps a person’s body with Covid antibodies, which help the immune system neutralize virus cells and prevent them from multiplying.
This treatment is especially valuable for unvaccinated people who do not have the antibodies necessary to fight off infection or a severe hospitalization.
Including this newly discovered antibody in future treatments for coronavirus-related diseases could make them much more effective.
While it may already be too late for this pandemic, the researchers hope their results will be crucial in fighting the next virus outbreak that hits the world.