The Covid-19 pandemic has been around for 2 years now and scientists have from time to time, discovered newer variants of the coronavirus that will evade the antibodies we make in response to vaccines or prior infections.
However, we may soon have better guard against the Covid-19 virus, all thanks to the new antibody discovered at the Boston Children’s Hospital, which is said to be able to fight off any virus variant that might emerge.
The antibody, named SP1-77, was developed through a collaboration between researchers from the hospital and Duke University, and the findings were published in the Science Immunology.
The antibody was created after researchers modified a mouse model that was originally meant to search for broadly neutralising antibodies to HIV, which also mutates. The mice have built-in human immune systems that mimic human’s immune system in fighting off the disease.
The mice were exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins (which cause the virus to latch onto cells), and it was found that the created antibody families were bonded to the spike proteins in an attempt to neutralize the virus.
In addition, the results found that one of these antibody families was able to stave off every single COVID-19 variant of concern, all the way from Alpha to the still-rampant Omicron.
However, the researchers found that the SP1-77 antibodies worked differently from other types of antibody families that are used in the current crop of vaccines.
The current Covid-19 vaccines block the SARS-CoV-2 virus from attaching its ACE2 receptors to human cells, but this new antibody blocks the virus from ever fusing its outer membrane with the membrane of human body cells, which is the first thing that needs to happen before a person becomes sick as a result.
Research still in early stages
While the findings were promising, experts say that the study is still in the early stages.
“This is very early-stage proof-of-concept work to illustrate that broadly neutralizing antibodies can be generated using a mouse model,” Amesh A. Adalja, M.D., infectious disease expert and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security said.
“Such work, if replicated and expanded, could form the basis of new monoclonal antibody products as well as a vaccine.”
Nonetheless, researchers remained positive about the breakthrough as this could potentially mean that there would be a cure for Covid-19.