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Current Affairs

Monoclonal antibodies that block coronavirus infection

Date: 02 June 2020 Tags: Biotechnology


Researchers have identified one of the antibodies that were found to recognise the infection due to the novel coronavirus, SARS- CoV-2. 



The antibody binds to a domain that is conserved in both SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 and has the ability to neutralise both viruses.



  • The research adds that this antibody can help develop antigen detection tests and serological assays. This antibody, either alone or in combination, offers the potential to prevent and/or treat COVID-19, and possibly also other future emerging diseases in humans caused by viruses from the Sarbecovirus subgenus.

  • Researchers set out to make antibodies against SARS, MERS and HCoV-OC43 with the aim to get antibodies that would recognise all three coronaviruses.

  • Parts of the proteins of these viruses are highly conserved (which means they are very similar) and they hoped to get antibodies that recognised these conserved parts.

  • Researchers found such antibodies which were published some time ago. The newly identified antibody was found among previously identified ones that did not recognise all three viruses and were put in the freezer.

  • The antibodies that are made in humans or in the mice can be isolated by several tricks. The classic one is to fuse the B-cells with leukemic cells to make them immortal.

  • The fused B-cells called hybridomas are grown individually and tested whether they make an antibody that would recognise the target.

  • Because they come from single B-cells hybridomas, they make only one specific antibody which is called a monoclonal antibody.

  • When a monoclonal-like antibody is given to patients it does its work immediately, that is, much faster that the body could make its own antibodies.

  • The research team is currently testing the antibody in animal models and also collaborating with a pharmaceutical company to develop the antibody further.