Antibodies isolated in a patient with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003 may inhibit the ability of the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 to infect people. This is stated in a new study published in the journal Nature.
The study was conducted in vitro, in a laboratory environment, and showed that monoclonal antibodies bind the S-protein of the new coronavirus and block its ability to infect cells.
In 2003, a major outbreak of SARS (“SARS”) was reported, but the disease was not as widespread as COVID-19. Its pathogen, the coronavirus SARS-CoV, is similar in structure and properties to the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.
Scientists received several types of monoclonal antibodies against the SARS-CoV virus from B-lymphocytes (memory cells) of a recovered patient. In laboratory conditions, they found out which of them can bind to the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. As it turned out, 8 antibodies could neutralize the new coronavirus to different degrees. One of them (S309) binds particularly strongly and specifically to S-protein, which is responsible for human infection.
The antibodies successfully binded to both the free virus and the virus that was in the infected cells. They could act on different parts of the S-protein, working separately and in combination with each other. Moreover, their combined use increased the effect.
According to scientists, antibodies that can neutralize the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, can help in the development of drugs or vaccines against it. Against COVID-19, they suggest trying to use cocktails of different antibodies: this may be a response to possible mutations of SARS-CoV-2. But this should be preceded by human research.