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Tags Current Affairs

Scientists discover antibodies that can block COVID-19

Date: 19 June 2020 Tags: Biotechnology

Issue

A team of scientists has discovered five antibodies that can block COVID-19 infection and protect against the key mutations that have emerged in the virus during the pandemic.

 

Background

Scientists have screened thousands of B cells - the cells that produce antibodies to target pathogens - from the blood samples of recovered COVID-19 patients.

 

Details

  • The scientists managed to isolate the first two antibodies for testing within a month of receiving the blood samples. Two months later, it identified another three effective antibodies.

  • This was done using a technique that screens B cells simultaneously with live virus, allowing antibodies with effective virus neutralising properties to be quickly identified.

  • Results showed that the five antibodies ?demonstrate neutralisation? against COVID-19. They are all potent in blocking infection and effective against key mutations that have emerged in the virus during the pandemic.

  • With the research phase completed, the study is now transiting into the preclinical phase, where the team is preparing the lead antibody for production.

  • This will allow clinical trials to be conducted, and manufacturing to be scaled up when human trials are successful.

  • If the clinical trial goes well, the antibodies could stop the virus from spreading to the lungs if administered before the illness becomes too severe.

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