This antibody component has been used to construct a drug, known as Ab8, for potential use as a therapeutic and prophylactic against SARS-CoV-2.

Scientists from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Pittsburgh they managed to isolate the smallest biological molecule to date that neutralizes completely and specifically the virus SARS-CoV-2, which is the cause of COVID-19.

This antibody component, which is 10 times smaller than a full-size antibody, has been used to build a drug, known as Bb8, for its potential use as a therapeutic and prophylactic against SARS-CoV-2.

The researchers detailed in the journal Cell that Ab8 is very effective in preventing and treating SARS-CoV-2 infection in mice and hamsters. Its small size not only increases its potential for diffusion into tissues to better neutralize the virus, but it also allows the drug to be administered by alternative routes, including inhalation.

“Importantly, it does not bind to human cells, a good sign that it will not have negative side effects in people,” they noted in the statement.

Ab8 was evaluated together with scientists from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) and the Medical Branch of the University of Texas (UTMB) in Galveston, as well as the University of British Columbia and the University of Saskatchewan.

“Ab8 not only has potential as a therapy for COVID-19, but it could also be used to prevent people from contracting SARS-CoV-2 infections,” said co-author John Mellors, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Pitt and UPMC.

“Larger antibodies have worked against other infectious diseases and have been well tolerated, giving us hope that it could be an effective treatment for COVID-19 patients and for the protection of those who have never had the infection. and they are not immune, ”argued Xianglei Liu of Pitt, who is also a co-lead author.

With information from López-Dóriga Digital