Antibody that may protect against Covid-19 infection identif
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Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) have identified a human antibody that they say may potentially prevent or limit SARS-CoV-2 infection, according to the study published in journal Nature Communications.

Researchers discovered and characterised a cross-reactive human monoclonal antibody (MAB) to SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins which block ACE2 receptor binding on the mucosal tissue of the respiratory tract.

The origins of this rapid and important discovery go back 16 years when the researchers at UMMS developed an IgG monoclonal antibody that was effective against a similar virus, SARS,

They launched the process of resurrecting the old SARS programme, retrieving frozen cells that had been developed 16 years earlier, thawing them and determining if what worked for one novel coronavirus would work for another.

Although there was 90 per cent similarity between the two coronaviruses, the monoclonal antibody exhibited no binding to the current coronavirus, the researchers said.

The team drew its experience with a separate research programme to develop "secretory IgAs (sIgA)," antibodies that play a crucial role in immunity on mucosal surfaces.

The approach worked, producing an antibody with binding affinity and neutralisation activity. This antibody was designated MAb362.

"In nature, sIgA antibodies coat mucosal surfaces like the respiratory, GI and GU tracts, and perform the important function of preventing binding of a pathogen to host cells, thus preventing infection," said Mark Klempner, a professor of medicine at UMMS.

Based on these results, the team found MAb362 shared a highly similar framework with MAb 80R, another SARS antibody with a crystal structure in complex with SARS-CoV.

A molecular model revealed a highly conserved protective epitope within the receptor-binding domain of the S protein.

MAb362 neutralises authentic SARS-CoV-2 virus by directly out-competing the S protein's binding to hACE2 receptors, the researchers found.

Source: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-18058-8
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