A research team at the University of North Carolina (UNC)—Chapel Hill and Duke University in Dunham said that they have found a key antibody that could prevent infection as well as treat those who have contracted COVID-19. The antibody might not only protect against SARS-CoV-but could also offer protection against other coronaviruses.
The findings, published in Science Translational Medicine journal, on November 2 said that the researchers identified over 1,700 coronavirus antibodies. They found 50 of these antibodies were able to bind with coronaviruses, both COVID as well as SARS. SARS was responsible for an Asian outbreak in the early 2000s.
A specific antibody, named DH1047, had high efficacy in binding with different kinds of viruses found in both animals and humans. Dr Barton Haynes, director of Duke Human Vaccine Institute and a co-author of the study said that the specific antibody had the ability to bind to the “coronavirus at a location that is conserved across various mutations and variations.” So, it had the ability to “neutralize a wide range of coronaviruses.”
Dr. Ralph Baric, who is a professor of epidemiology at the UNC as well as co-senior author of the research, said that their findings would provide a “template” that could help in the “rational design of universal vaccine strategies” that would not only be “variant-proof” but would be able to “provide broad protection from known and emerging coronaviruses.”
Dr. David Martinez, a researcher at UNC as well as a co-lead author said that they observed therapeutic activity even after mice were infected.These findings suggested that the treatment could not only be used in this COVID-19 pandemic but also be stockpiled for future use. It could be used to prevent a future outbreak or epidemic that involved a SARS-related virus.
Monoclonal antibody treatments have been used to treat COVID-19 especially among the unvaccinated to help their immune system in neutralizing virus cells as well to prevent replication of viral cells. Adding this new antibody to future treatments could increase the efficacy of treatments in both the current and future outbreaks.