A universal antibody could neutralize all coronaviruses

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Sars-CoV-2 has already held a few surprises in this pandemic. At the beginning of the pandemic, few experts reckoned with the mutability of the virus, i.e., its ability to change. The changes in the spike protein are particularly crucial. This is the site with which the virus attaches to the human cell. Since this protein, in particular, has changed several times in the different variants, it is also difficult for our immune system to provide the correct response in the form of neutralizing antibodies in the long term.

For this reason, experts worldwide are searching for antibodies that attack the virus at those sites that do not change or do not change as much. In the case of Sars-CoV-2, one such site is the stalk of the spike protein. Experts at the University of Alabama at Birmingham are now believed to have found just such antibodies, as reported by the German medical journal, Ärzteblatt. The findings were initially published in the journal PLoS Pathogens. If Sars-CoV-2 were to mutate on the stalk, this could lead to the instability of the virus.

One antibody against all variants
The search was for such antibodies in the blood of patients who had undergone a Covid-19 infection. A total of 17 antibodies have been detected that bind to the stalk of the spike protein. Four of them neutralized not only Sars-CoV-2 but also the beta and omicron variants.

However, the antibody with the sounding name 1249A8 performed best. The experts demonstrated that this antibody not only binds to the wild type and its beta, gamma, delta, epsilon, and omicron variants but also neutralizes the first Sars-CoV and Mers-CoV. Two coronaviruses that cause harmless colds could also be held in check by this antibody.

These new research results could lead to the development of new antibody therapies. Because currently, there are very few of these monoclonal antibodies that are also effective against omicron. Antibodies are proteins that the body produces to fight off a pathogen. Monoclonal antibodies are made in the laboratory and are designed to disable the virus after infection. Monoclonal means that the antibodies are all the same and attack the virus at a fixed target. In contrast, after a vaccination, the human body produces a mix of antibodies that can bind the virus at different sites. In this case, experts speak of polyclonal antibodies.

  • source: kleinezeitung.at/picture: pixabay.com
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