European researchers have found the antibody that can block the infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus – aka the Wuhan coronavirus – which is now re-branded COVID-19.
The Daily Mail reports that the antibody, “known as 47D11, targets the deadly virus’s infamous ‘spike protein’, which it uses to hook onto cells and insert its genetic material.”
Researchers say that the virus, depicted as a sphere with spikes, “binds to this protein and prevents it from hooking on – effectively neutralising it.”
The good news is that the antibody attacks the worst part of the virus that creates the respiratory disease in COVID-19.
The Daily Mail says the breakthrough could “alter the course of infection or protect an unfenced person exposed to someone with the virus.”
The European research team identified the antibody from 51 cell lines from mice that had been engineered to carry human genes.
The antibody targets the novel coronavirus that caused the 2003 SARS outbreak, known as SARS-CoV-1.
However, scientists claim that it can also neutralise SARS-CoV-2, which is from the same family of coronaviruses as SARS-CoV-1.
‘This research builds on the work our groups have done in the past on antibodies targeting the SARS-CoV that emerged in 2002/2003,’ said co-lead author Professor Berend-Jan Bosch at Utrecht University.
‘Using this collection of SARS-CoV antibodies, we identified an antibody that also neutralises infection of SARS-CoV-2 in cultured cells.
The virus hooks onto a locking point on human cells to insert its genetic material, makes multiples copies of itself and spreads throughout the body.
Researchers say not only will the antibody neutralize the virus, but it can be made in the lab, which means it’s not dependent on plasma from people previously infected with the virus.
‘Antibodies like this can be made in the lab instead of purified from people’s blood and could conceivably be used as a treatment for disease, but this has not yet been demonstrated.
We can only hope that this is a genuine breakthrough. Research scientists say that this will not be without risk because injecting people with antibodies can be dangerous.
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