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Scientists discover an antibody that ‘neutralizes’ the coronavirus

Could the new discovery help stop the novel coronavirus?

Electron microscope image of a novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle.
Could the new discover help stop the novel coronavirus?
NIAID/NIH via Associated Press

Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine recently discovered “the smallest biological molecule” that “completely and specifically neutralizes” the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19.

  • This antibody is reportedly 10 times smaller than a full antibody.
  • The new discovery has been used to create a drug called Ab8, which has been deemed a potential preventative against the coronavirus.

“Ab8 not only has potential as therapy for COVID-19, but it also could be used to keep people from getting SARS-CoV-2 infections. Antibodies of larger size have worked against other infectious diseases and have been well tolerated, giving us hope that it could be an effective treatment for patients with COVID-19 and for protection of those who have never had the infection and are not immune.” — study co-author John Mellors, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at UPSM.

The researchers said the new Ab8 drug has shown positive results in mice and hamster testing. These mice had 10 times less amount of infection coronavirus than those who didn’t receive the treatment, Fox News reports.

  • The drug will block the coronavirus from entering cells.
  • Interestingly, the drug reportedly doesn’t bind to any human cells, which means it’s unlikely to have negative side effects, Fox News reports.
  • Scientists published their finings in the journal Cell.

Back in April, University of Pittsburgh scientists said they believed they had a potential coronavirus vaccine, which would offer antibodies to defeat the virus, as I wrote about for

  • Dr. Andrea Gambotto, associate professor of surgery at the Pitt School of Medicine, said in a statement: “These two viruses, which are closely related to SARS-CoV-2, teach us that a particular protein, called a spike protein, is important for inducing immunity against the virus. We knew exactly where to fight this new virus.”