Scientists discover antibodies that can block COVID-19Date: 19 June 2020 Tags: Biotechnology
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.
Scientists have screened thousands of B cells - the cells that produce antibodies to target pathogens - from the blood samples of recovered COVID-19 patients.
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.