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These COVID antibodies could stop the omicron variant

Researchers said a new antibody can stop the omicron variant

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SARS-CoV-2 virus particles that cause COVID-19.

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases — Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which cause COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. Researchers have said the omicron variant could create COVID-19 antibodies.

NIAID-RML via Associated Press

A group of scientists at the University of Washington School of Medicine said they have found antibodies that could defeat the omicron variant and other future coronavirus strains.

  • The antibodies specifically target areas of the coronavirus spike protein, which have remained unchanged so far as the virus has mutated.

Per News-Medical, the scientists said they have identified targets of “broadly neutralizing” antibodies on the spike protein. This means that they could design future COVID-19 vaccines and antibody treatments against omicron and other variants.

  • “This finding tells us that by focusing on antibodies that target these highly conserved sites on the spike protein, there is a way to overcome the virus’ continual evolution,” said David Veesler, an associate professor of biochemistry at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle.

Veesler said researchers still want to figure out how the omicron variant has so many mutations and how it has learned to evade COVID-19 vaccines.

  • “The main questions we were trying to answer were: how has this constellation of mutations in the spike protein of the omicron variant affected its ability to bind to cells and to evade the immune system’s antibody responses,” Veesler said.

This comes as a recent study from researchers at Columbia University found that the omicron variant of COVID-19 is “markedly resistant” to the current COVID-19 vaccines and antibody treatments, as I wrote for the Deseret News.

  • A Columbia University study — which has not been peer-reviewed for a scientific journal, which means it is not conclusive data — found that natural antibodies from previous COVID-19 infections don’t always stop the omicron variant.
  • Similarly, a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report found that the omicron variant can cause reinfection for those infected earlier in the pandemic.