Scientists think they've found an antibody that can destroy all Covid-19 variants.
Researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital and Duke University recently carried out a study into the disease and discovered an antibody that they believe could hold the key to neutralising Covid, called SP1-77.
In the study, the team used mice with built-in human immune systems, which mimic the way we develop antibodies when they respond to a virus or disease.
They inserted two human gene segments into the animals before exposing them to the SARS-CoV-2’s spike protein, the virus that attaches itself to a cell and leads to someone developing Covid-19.
The scientists then monitored their reaction.
In this case, the mice produced nine different 'families' of antibodies to try and combat the disease.
Tests revealed that three of them were effective in dealing with the original Wuhan-Hu-1 virus. However, researchers found that one, SP1-77, was the most effective, wiping out all known strains of Covid.
The results of the study were published in the journal Science Immunology, with the team saying that they are hopeful it could lead to better treatment of the disease.
They said: "SP1-77 potently and broadly neutralized all SARS-CoV-2 variants through BA.5. Cryo-EM studies revealed that SP1-77 bound RBD away from the receptor-binding-motif via a CDR3-dominated recognition mode.
"The broad and potent SP1-77 neutralization activity and non-traditonal mechanism of action suggest this antibody might have therapeutic potential.
"Likewise, the SP1-77 binding epitope may further inform on vaccine strategies.
"Finally, the general class of humanized mouse models we have described may contribute to identifying therapeutic antibodies against future SARS-CoV-2 variants and other pathogens."
But what made it so effective?
Well, for someone to be contract Covid-19, the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein must first attach to ACE2 receptors in a person's cells.
Antibodies made due to vaccines generally work by preventing this from happening, attaching themselves to its receptor-binding domain (RBD).
However, SP1-77 doesn't do this in the same way. Explaining the point, Dr Tomas Kirchhausen said in a statement: "SP1-77 binds the spike protein at a site that so far has not been mutated in any variant, and it neutralizes these variants by a novel mechanism.
"These properties may contribute to its broad and potent activity."
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