An experimental antibody developed by researchers at Utrecht University in the Netherlands can defeat coronavirus in a laboratory setting, according to a new study published in Nature Communications Bloomberg, which notes that the antibody - known as 47D11 - neutralized the virus in cell cultures.
Monoclonal antibodies are proteins created in a lab which resemble naturally occurring versions used by the immune system to fight off viruses and bacteria. 47D11 was created by using genetically modified mice to produce antibodies which target a specific site on a virus - in this case the spike protein, which coronavirus uses to attach to and enter human cells.
After the mouse antibodies were proven effective in defeating coronavirus, the researchers 'reformatted' it to create a fully human version, according to the study.
The experimental antibody has neutralized the virus in cell cultures. While that’s early in the drug development process -- before animal research and human trials -- the antibody may help prevent or treat Covid-19 and related diseases in the future, either alone or in a drug combination, according to a study published Monday in the journal Nature Communications.
According to Berend-Jan Bosch of Utrecht University, more research is needed to confirm the findings in a clinical setting. According to the researchers, the antibody can also kill other viruses equipped with similar spike proteins such as Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
"Monoclonal antibodies targeting vulnerable sites on viral surface proteins are increasingly recognized as a promising class of drugs against infectious diseases and have shown therapeutic efficacy for a number of viruses," wrote Bosch and colleagues.
They're are already used in treatments for cancer, inflammation, ebola and other applications.