In a stunning development, scientists have discovered a group of powerful antibodies that can effectively neutralise almost all COVID-19 variations currently known to science. These antibodies can also fight off further dangerous animal coronaviruses that may later create pandemics.
The development of therapies that can successfully combat both present and emerging coronaviruses may be guided by this discovery.
The National University of Singapore, the University of Melbourne in Australia, and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in the United States all contributed to the study, which was directed by the Duke-NUS Medical School.
Researchers used blood from a patient who had previously recovered from SARS and had received a COVID-19 vaccination for the investigation.
This unusual concoction led to a powerful and widespread antibody response that showed the ability to neutralise practically all coronaviruses tested.
The senior author of the paper and a renowned expert on bat viruses with Duke-NUS’ Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID) Programme is Professor Wang Linfa.
“We sought to address the lack of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies for treatment and prophylaxis of high-risk COVID-19 patients, as all previously approved monoclonal antibodies have lost efficacy against newly emerged SARS-CoV-2 variants,” explained Professor Wang. “This work provides encouraging evidence that pan-coronavirus vaccines are possible if they can ‘educate’ the human immune system in the right way.”
Professor Wang emphasised that if they can effectively “educate” the human immune system, pan-coronavirus vaccines are possible and the study offers upbeat evidence to support this claim.
The study discovered six powerful antibodies that were capable of neutralising a variety of coronaviruses, including the original SARS virus, SARS-CoV-2 and its variants Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Omicron, as well as a number of animal coronaviruses. Three of these antibodies showed extraordinary potency and breadth.
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