AB8 Nano Sized Antibody - the Next Big Thing in Pandemic Prevention & Cure

16 Septembre, 2020, 00:58 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • New Covid antibody test can handle larger number of donor samples

University of Pittsburgh and UPMC researchers plan to start human trials early next year for an antibody therapy that might both prevent and treat COVID-19. Its small size also makes it easy to administer through inhalation.

The tiny antibody component is the variable, heavy chain (VH) domain of an immunoglobulin, which is a type of antibody found in the blood. In a membrane protein array assay, the team found that ab8 did not bind to any of the 5,300 human membrane-associated proteins, suggesting that it is highly specific and therefore has a low potential for off-target toxicities in vivo.

Of these, they identified ab8, a human IgG1 crystallizable fragment (Fc) fusion format, which showed the most potent neutralization activity and specificity against SARS-CoV-2 in vitro and in mouse and hamster models.

Convalescent plasma - blood plasma taken from patients who have recovered from SARS-CoV-2 and therefore contains anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies - is now being tested in clinical trials as a treatment for those battling COVID-19.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), University of Columbia, University of Saskatchewan, and University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) already evaluated Ab8's effectiveness.

"REGN-COV2 was specifically designed by Regeneron scientists to target the virus that causes COVID-19".

The antibody, which is 10 times smaller than a full-sized antibody, has been used to create a drug named Ab8 that researchers hope might be able to prevent and treat the virus.

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These antibody components can be directed to SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain (RBD) epitopes to elicit neutralizing antibodies that confer protection against infection.

With these results in hand, Ralph Baric, PhD, and his UNC colleagues tested ab8 at varying concentrations in mice using a modified version of SARS-CoV-2. Researchers mentioned that the molecule has been used to develop a drug - Ab8 - for potential use as a therapeutic and prophylactic against SARS-CoV-2. The rodents that were treated with the drug had significantly less (10-fold less of the amount) of infectious virus compared to those that were not treated.

According to researchers, Ab8's size increases its potential for diffusion in tissues to better neutralise the virus.

Development of the antibody began in February at Pitt's Center for Antibody Therapeutics, Mellors said, "before covid-19 was a household name".

Scientists discovered a new antibody that could possibly neutralize COVID-19 by preventing it from entering the human cells.

This research was funded by National Institutes of Health grants, as well as UPMC; the Burroughs Wellcome Fund; a Canada Excellence Research Chair Award; Genome BC, Canada; Canadian Institutes for Health Research; and Canadian Foundation for Innovation.

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