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Scientists Create Antibody That Defeats Coronavirus in Lab

The discovery of an antibody that has the ability to defeat coronavirus, the virus that causes COVID-19, has been hailed as “groundbreaking”.

Scientists from Dutch institutions Utrecht University, Erasmus Medical Center and Harbour BioMed made the discovery, which was made public in a study published in scientific journal Nature Communications on Monday.

The study found that the ‘neutralising monoclonal antibody’ known as 47D11 has been found to prevent SARS-CoV-2 from entering cultured cells.

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.

 

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Most therapeutic antibodies are developed first in other species, and require extensive additional work to ‘humanise’ them, Utrecht University explains – but 47D11 bucks that trend.

Dr Frank Grosveld, chief scientific officer at Harbour BioMed and the study’s co-lead author, says 47D11’s ‘fully human’ make-up has a range of benefits in the creation of a COVID-19 treatment.

The antibody used in this work is ‘fully human’, allowing development to proceed more rapidly and reducing the potential for immune-related side effects,” he said.

Such a neutralising antibody has potential to alter the course of infection in the infected host, support virus clearance or protect an uninfected individual that is exposed to the virus.

This discovery provides a strong foundation for additional research to characterise this antibody and begin development as a potential COVID-19 treatment.”

In lab tests, 47D11 was also found to be effective at blocking infection from SARS-CoV, the virus that causes SARS – a sign it could be used to treat a range of viral illnesses.

This cross-neutralising feature of the antibody is very interesting, and suggests it may have potential in mitigation of diseases caused by future-emerging related coronaviruses,”  co-lead author Dr Berend-Jan Bosch says.

Dr Jingsong Wang, CEO of Harbour BioMed, labelled the discovery of 47D11 “groundbreaking”.

He says the team is now “pursuing several other research avenues” in an effort to address the “urgent public health need” brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Coronavirus is a global pandemic that has infected 3.6 million people and resulted in the deaths of more than 251,000.

As of last week, there were seven candidate vaccines in clinical evaluation and 82 in pre-clinical evaluation around the world, according to the World Health Organization.

It’s estimated that it will take 12 to 18 months for a vaccine to be rolled out worldwide.

Source: Bloomberg, Hub

Vietnam tests Covid-19 vaccine on mice

A potential coronavirus vaccine developed by Vietnam and the U.K. is being tested on mice for two weeks before further evaluation.

The Covid-19 vaccine was developed after scientists successfully generated the novel coronavirus antigen in the lab, said Dr. Do Tuan Dat, President of the Company for Vaccine and Biological Production No.1 (VABIOTECH) in Hanoi. Antigen units are the most important ingredient in vaccine production, helping the body process antigens.

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Dr. Dat said the vaccine will be tested further in animals and evaluated for safety and effectiveness before a manufacturing process is embarked on.

The vaccine has been developed by collaborating scientists at VABIOTECH and the U.K.’s Bristol University.

A vaccine is said to be the most effective way to fight against a viral disease. Produced from weakened virus or a protein or other small “pieces” taken from it, a vaccine trains the body’s immune system to fight the disease it has not come into contact with before.

After testing the VABIOTECH vaccine in mice for two weeks, scientists will conduct blood tests on the animal, sending samples to the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology.

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According to the institute, it will take at least 12-18 months to develop Covid-19 vaccine that can work safely on human.

There are currently no approved vaccines or medication for the Covid-19, which has killed nearly 245,000 people worldwide and infected almost 3.5 million.

Around 150 Covid-19 vaccine development projects are being conducted worldwide.

Human trials are underway at Oxford University in England for a coronavirus vaccine made from a chimpanzee virus, and in the U.S. for a different vaccine. In China, a firm is said to be ready for testing and mass production.