One of the features of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, whichincreases its danger and hinders the fight against COVID-19 - this is the ability to mutate and bypass immunity. Moreover, new mutations of the virus are becoming more and more resistant even to vaccines. A prime example of this is the Mu strain, which I talked about earlier. Vaccines are still the most reliable way to fight COVID-19, but it's hard to say what will happen next. Therefore, scientists are already looking for possible ways to combat the virus, and are making some progress, which we regularly talk about. This time, the good news came from the United States - American scientists have found an antibody that is able to resist various strains of SARS-CoV-2. It was found, in fact, by filtering the antibodies generated against the spike protein of the virus.
Invincible Antibody Against Coronavirus
As we have already said many times, SARS-CoV-2uses a protein called a thorn to attach to cells and then infect them. Antibodies, which can be used for therapeutic purposes, “bind” the spine by attaching to it, and thereby prevent the introduction of the virus into cells. This makes the virus harmless and unable to replicate. Accordingly, the disease in this case stops, and the person is on the mend.
However, over the past almost two years, the virus has beenmutated in its spike genes, allowing it to evade some of the antibodies generated against the original strain. Thus, the effectiveness of the developed therapeutic agents based on antibodies is greatly reduced. In fact, they become useless.
It seems that scientists have found a solution to this problem.Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. They managed to find an antibody that has a high protective function against a wide range of coronaviruses. Its main feature is that it attaches to the part of the virus that practically does not mutate.
Study results that are described in detailin the Immunity article may help create new antibody-based treatments for COVID-19 that can remain effective over time as the virus mutates.
To identify a reliable antibody capable ofto recognize different variants of the coronavirus, the researchers inoculated mice with a key part of the spike protein called the receptor-binding domain. They then extracted more than forty antibodies from the blood of the mice that could recognize the thorn protein.
Then scientists tested the effectiveness of these antibodies.on the original version of SARS-CoV-2 and cultured cells in laboratory conditions. This allowed them to select the nine most effective antibodies. Next, the test was performed on mice to find out if these antibodies can protect animals infected with the original SARS-CoV-2. As a result, researchers have identified two antibodies that are more effective than others.
"The detected antibody has both high and wide neutralizing ability," said Michael Diamond, professor of molecular microbiology, one of the authors of the work.
At the final stage, scientists checkedthe ability of antibodies to recognize different strains of coronavirus. For the test, they used alpha, beta, gamma, and delta variants, as well as kappa and iota, plus a few unnamed ones that are being tracked by scientists as a potential threat. As a result, one antibody, called SARS2-38, was isolated, which easily neutralized all variants of the virus.
Scientists note that the SARS2-38 antibody showedits effectiveness against the spike protein of the beta variant of the coronavirus. The latter is known for its resistance to antibodies, which indicates the reliability of the identified antibody.
Will the fight against coronavirus become more effective?
In subsequent studies, scientists were able todetermine the exact location on the spike protein that the antibody recognizes. In this area, only two mutations were identified that could theoretically interfere with the work of the antibody. However, they are extremely rare. Researchers searched for 800 tas environments. sequences of SARS-CoV-2, and found escape mutations in only 0.04% of them.
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Also, the authors of the work report that the antibodybinds to a unique region of the spike protein that is not targeted by other antibodies under development. As a result, it is excellent for combination therapy. That is, the researchers plan to combine the detected antibody with another that binds to other parts of the virus, which will increase the effectiveness of therapy. Finally, let me remind you that recently, scientists have also identified the vulnerability of the coronavirus. It is possible that complex treatment using different technologies and antibodies will really help overcome the pandemic once and for all.