Coronavirus-Neutralizing Human Antibody Discovered

May 19, 2020 | Biotechnology

Reading time: 3-4 minutes

This week's Lab.Equipment Biotech news comes from GEN – Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News:

Researchers at Utrecht University, Erasmus Medical Center and Harbour BioMed (HBM) have identified a fully human monoclonal antibody that prevents SARS-CoV-2 from infecting cultured cells. Discovery of the antibody, which also neutralizes the related SARS-CoV coronavirus, represents an initial step towards developing a fully human antibody to treat or prevent COVID-19, and also potentially future diseases caused by viruses from the same coronavirus subgroup.

“This discovery provides a strong foundation for additional research to characterize this antibody and begin development as a potential COVID-19 treatment,” said Frank Grosveld, PhD. co-lead author on the study, Academy Professor of Cell Biology, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam and Founding CSO at Harbour BioMed. “The antibody used in this work is ‘fully human,’ allowing development to proceed more rapidly and reducing the potential for immune-related side effects.”

Grosveld and colleagues report on the antibody in Nature Communications, in a paper titled, “A human monoclonal antibody blocking SARS-CoV-2 infection.”

Both SARS-CoV-2 and the SARS-CoV virus that emerged in 2002, belong to the Sarbecovirus subgenus of the Betacoronavirus family of coronaviruses. The two viruses crossed species barriers from an animal reservoir, and can cause life-threatening respiratory illness in humans. By May 4th 2020 there were more than 3.4 million confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 worldwide, and in excess of 230,000 deaths. The SARS-CoV strain caused ~8000 infections, with a lethality of 10%. There are currently no approved targeted therapeutics are available for COVID-19, the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2.

Monoclonal antibodies targeting “vulnerable sites” on viral surface proteins are increasingly recognized as a promising class of drugs against infectious dise... More of this in the GEN Blog.

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