A team of researchers in New York has identified an antibody that is highly protective at low doses against a wide range of viral COVID-19 variants. The findings, published in the journal Immunity, could be a step toward developing new antibody-based therapies that are less likely to lose their potency when the virus mutates.
The antibody binds to a part of the virus that varies slightly among the different types, meaning that resistance is unlikely to arise at this location. “Existing antibodies may work against some but not all types,” said researcher Michael S. Diamond, from Washington University in St. Louis in the US.
To find neutralizing antibodies that work against a variety of variants, the researchers began by immunizing mice with a significant portion of the spike protein known as the receptor-binding domain. “The virus will continue to evolve over time and space. Broadly neutralizing, effective antibodies that work individually and can be combined to create new combinations will likely prevent resistance,” Diamond said. The researchers tested 43 antibodies by measuring how well they prevented the original version of SARS-CoV-2 from infecting cells in a dish.