NewsCorona virus: Harvard researchers discover special antibodies – breakthrough...

Corona virus: Harvard researchers discover special antibodies – breakthrough for universal vaccine?

Created: 08/20/2022, 06:12 am

Viren und Antikörper
Viruses against antibodies: It is the eternal struggle in the human organism. © IMAGO / Shot Shop

The corona virus resists research with ever new mutations. That could soon be over. Thanks to an antibody that goes by the name “SP1-77”.

Munich – one for all! This is the ambitious claim of various research teams currently working around the world to put the corona virus in its place. The goal is easy to describe, but it represents an all the greater hurdle. Because the experts are concerned with creating a vaccine that protects against all variants of SARS-CoV-2.

So far, the virus has defended itself against the various vaccines through the large number of mutations and therefore still poses a threat to many people worldwide more than two and a half years after its discovery. Despite research under high pressure, there is still no active substance against the omicron variants admitted, although these have been predominant for months.

At least there have been positive headlines lately. For example, research into a “Pan-Sars virus” antibody or the discovery of the “1249A8” antibody. Both should act across mutations and thus make life difficult for the corona virus.

Research against corona: Antibody “SP1-77” is intended to protect against all mutations

Experts led by Dr. Sai Luo and Dr. Frederick W. Alt of Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Using a mouse model – i.e. tests with laboratory mice – they came across an antibody that can also successfully counteract various coronavirus variants. The possibly groundbreaking work was published in the journal Science Immunology .

In research, the beacon of hope is called “SP1-77”. Because this antibody fought the corona viruses particularly successfully in the experiments, which lasted weeks, regardless of their composition. In total, the mouse organism formed nine antibody variants after the animals had been implanted with human genes and the spike protein of the original coronavirus was then released on them.

Video: Corona study shows why many omicron infections go unnoticed

Antibodies for all corona mutations: “SP1-77” only intervenes when the membranes fuse

The researchers’ encouraging finding: “It is noteworthy that ‘SP1-77’ effectively neutralized all currently known SARS-CoV-2 virus variants up to BA.5, including the robust neutralization of the recently emerged omicron subvariants BA.1, BA .2, BA.3, BA.4/BA.5 and BA.2.12.1.” The special thing about the antibody for all corona cases: It does not already inhibit the binding of the virus to the host cell or its endocytosis – that is the absorption of substances by invagination of the plasma membrane – but only switches on when the membrane of the virus wants to fuse with that of the cell.

The Pharmazeutische Zeitung quotes Professor Dr. Thomas Leopold Kirchhausen commented on one of the authors: “‘SP1-77’ binds the spike protein to a site that has not yet been mutated in any variant, and it neutralizes these variants through a novel mechanism.” contribute to its broad and powerful activity.”

Corona and the antibodies: researchers have hope for a universal vaccine

However, the researchers also emphasize: “In order to further demonstrate the potential therapeutic benefit of the antibody, we must carry out the neutralization of live viruses from omicron.” current and emerging virus variants are used”. In other words: as a universal vaccine against Corona.

A mix with other antibodies could also be an option. And: “In addition, the non-traditional neutralization mechanism of ‘SP1-77’ could inspire the development of new vaccine strategies that target a broader spectrum of BA.5 and other virus variants.”

There is still a lot of subjunctive in these sentences. But at least as much hope that SARS-CoV-2 will not spread fear and terror for much longer, despite the formation of more and more subtypes. (mg)

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