Scientists of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have discovered a tiny antibody, the smallest molecule component ever. This molecule wholly and mainly neutralizes the SARS-CoV-2 virus i.e., the cause of COVID-19.
This antibody is ten times smaller than a regular-size antibody. It helps in making a drug, namely ‘Ab8’, which may prove helpful as a therapeutic and prophylactic against SARS-CoV-2.
Researchers report in the journal ‘Cell’ states that Ab8 is highly useful in preventing and also treating SARS-CoV-2 infection. Also, the research was done in mice and hamsters.
The tiny size of the antibody helps heighten its capacity to diffuse in tissues. This also better neutralizes the virus. The size also helps in administering the drug by alternative routes, such as inhalation.
One crucial thing is that the antibody does not bind to human cells. This is good because it means that it will not have negative side-effects in humans.
What Do The Researchers Say About The Discovery Of The Antibody?
The discovery links to an immunoglobin antibody in the blood. It was discovered by “fishing” in a pool of 100 billion antibody component having potential. The SARS-CoV-2 virus is taken as bait for the research.
The research is done in conjunction with scientists from the University of North Carolina (UNC) and the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB). Scientists from the University of British Columbia and the University of Saskatchewan were also present.
Co-author Dr. John Mellors says, “Antibodies of larger size have worked against other infectious diseases and have been well-tolerated, giving us hope that it could be an effective treatment for patients with COVID-19 and for protection of those who have never had the infection and are not immune.”
There Might Be Hope For Us After All
Mellors says, “The COVID-19 pandemic is a global challenge facing humanity, but biomedical science and human ingenuity are likely to overcome it…We hope that the antibodies we have discovered will contribute to that triumph.”
Funds for the research comes from the National Institutes of Health grants, and UPMC, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. A Canada Excellence Research Chair Award, Genome BC, Canada, Canadian Institutes for Health Research, and the Canadian Foundation for Innovation funds the research as well.