Scientists suggest twin antibodies for the treatment of COVID-19: Here's what that means
In this study, the scientists targeted this binding site of the COVID-19 causing virus to neutralize the effect of the virus.
The entire world is struggling with the new strain of coronavirus that causes COVID-19 infection. The number of COVID-19 cases has been increasing rapidly with over 4.4 million people infected all over the world. The most difficult part of this pandemic is that we still do not have any treatment for this infectious disease - and a vaccine would take at least another year to be developed.
However, scientists are coming up with new research and methods to find a cure for this disease almost every day. One such report was published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science on 13 April 2020 where scientists found that twin antibodies have the ability to kill the new coronavirus. They further added that the two antibodies would be received from the patients who have recovered from COVID-19.
The ‘twin antibodies’ study
So far, the scientists have confirmed that the COVID-19 virus has an affinity for ACE-2, an enzyme which is present in the lungs, heart and gut lining. Therefore, the virus can cause severe damage to the people who have a higher amount of ACE-2 in their body.
The researchers further added that the virus has a spike (S) glycoprotein which makes it easy for the virus to enter the body. The S glycoprotein has two sites S1 and S2 out of which S1 acts as a binding site for the virus.
In this study, the scientists targeted this binding site of the COVID-19 causing virus to neutralize the effect of the virus. For this, the scientists took blood samples from a completely cured COVID-19 patient and separated memory B-cells from it. Memory B cells are the ones that remember the infection that occurs in the body the first time and then help in fighting it when it occurs again.
These B-cells were then used to form monoclonal antibodies. A monoclonal antibody is the one which mimics the antibodies that are produced by the immune system of the body to fight the infection-causing microbes.
The scientists then found that four different antibodies (B5, B38, H2 and H4) could bind with S1, the binding site of the COVID-19 virus. This binding would keep the virus from binding with ACE2 and thus, deactivate the virus. Out of the four antibodies, B38 an H4 showed an excellent ability to neutralize the virus even in the case of high viral load.
The animal testing
To further confirm the protection and efficiency of B38 and H4 in the body, the scientists performed an animal study using hACE2 transgenic mice. These mice are genetically modified with a high amount of ACE-2 enzyme in them. These mice were injected with the virus and after 12 hours they were given a single dose of 25 mg per kg of B38 or H4. It was seen that the mice who got B38 recovered from the virus in three days post-infection.
The scientists believe that the cocktail of B38 and H4 antibodies can be beneficial for neutralizing the COVID-19 virus since both work on shutting down the binding site for the virus. Further studies are yet to be done but the researchers believe that this laboratory information can help make both cure and vaccine for COVID-19 infection.
For more information, read our article on Passive antibody therapy.
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