Scientists discover tiny antibody that completely neutralises novel coronavirus
Scientists, including one of Indian origin, have isolated the smallest biological molecule to date that they say completely and specifically neutralises the SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes COVID-19. Ten times smaller than a full-sized antibody, the molecule has been used to construct a drug - known as Ab8 - for potential use as a therapeutic and prophylactic against SARS-CoV-2, according to the study published in the journal Cell.
The researchers, including Sriram Subramaniam from the University of British Columbia in Canada, found that Ab8 is highly effective in preventing and treating SARS-CoV-2 infection in mice and hamsters. Its tiny size not only increases its potential for diffusion in tissues to better neutralise the virus, but also makes it possible to administer the drug by alternative routes, including inhalation, the researchers said.
The drug does not bind to human cells, which is a good sign that it won't have negative side-effects in people, they said. "Ab8 not only has potential as a therapy for COVID-19, but it also could be used to keep people from getting SARS-CoV-2 infections," said study co-author John Mellors, from the University of Pittsburgh in the US.