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New study identifies antibody that protects you from COVID, variants and more

Could COVID-19 antibodies adapt to learn new variants?

SHARE New study identifies antibody that protects you from COVID, variants and more

Illustration by Zoë Petersen

Scientists have discovered a new COVID-19 antibody that can reduce the severity of a number of different coronaviruses, including the novel coronavirus and the original SARS illness.

Researchers from Duke Human Vaccine Institute and the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill recently discovered the antibody after analyzing blood from a patient infected with the original SARS-CoV-1 virus, which caused the SARS outbreak almost two decades ago, and a patient infected with SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19).

  • The researchers identified more than 1,700 antibodies. Of those, there were 50 “that had the ability to bind to both the SARS-CoV-1 virus as well as SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19,” according to WRAL Tech Wire.
  • One of these antibodies could bind to a number of animal coronaviruses.
  • The researchers then tested the antibody in mice to see if it could stop viruses from spreading. Indeed, they found the antibody could be given as a therapeutic measure to fight off viruses.

The study was published in the medical journal Science Translational Medicine.

In August, a separate team of researchers reportedly found an antibody that could neutralize all known novel coronavirus strains, as I wrote for the Deseret News.

  • Both GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology conducted a large study that found a new natural antibody “that has remarkable breadth and efficacy,” per Berkeley Lab.
  • The antibody had such strong power that it “neutralizes all known SARS-CoV-2 strains — including newly emerged mutants that can now ‘escape’ from previous antibody therapies — as well as the closely related original SARS-CoV virus,” according to a press release from the Berkeley Lab.