Powerful new antibody can fight all known COVID variants

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In a study from Boston Children’s Hospital, scientists developed a new broadly neutralizing antibody to improve our ability to defend against future variants.

In tests, the antibody neutralized all currently known SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, including all omicron variants.

As SARS-CoV-2 has evolved and mutated, therapeutic antibodies that worked early in the pandemic have become less effective.

Newer variants, especially omicron, have developed ways to evade the antibodies we make in response to vaccines.

In the study, the team turned to a modified version of a humanized mouse model that the lab has used to search for broadly neutralizing antibodies to HIV, another virus that frequently mutates.

The mice essentially have built-in human immune systems, and the model mimics the trial-and-error process our immune system uses to create increasingly effective antibodies.

The researchers first inserted two human gene segments into the mice, pushing their B cells to rapidly-produce a diverse repertoire of humanized antibodies.

They then exposed the mice to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, the main protein targeted by our antibodies and current vaccines, from the original Wuhan-Hu-1 strain of the virus.

In response, the modified mice produced nine lineages or “families” of humanized antibodies that bound to the spike.

The researchers found antibodies in three of the nine lineages were potent neutralizers of the original Wuhan-Hu-1 virus.

In particular, the SP1-77 antibody and other members of its lineage showed very broad activity, neutralizing alpha, beta, gamma, delta, and all previous and current omicron strains.

They showed that SP1-77 prevents the virus from fusing its outer membrane with the membrane of the target cell. This thwarts the final necessary step that throws the door open to infection.

The researchers hope that this humanized antibody will prove to be as effective at neutralizing SARS-CoV-2 in patients as it has proven to be thus far in preclinical evaluations.

If you care about COVID, please read studies about the key to curing COVID-19, and this treatment may prevent COVID death and lung damage,

For more information about COVID, please see recent studies about drugs that can offer much-needed COVID-19 protection, and results showing scientists find new antibody treatments for COVID-19.

The study was conducted by Frederick Alt et al and published in Science Immunology.

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