A person who had severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) 17 years ago could help scientists in the search for therapies to fight the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, according to a new study from a biotech company.
The study researchers found that blood samples from this patient, who had SARS in 2003, contained an antibody that also appears to inhibit SARS-CoV-2.
Antibodies form part of the body’s immune response to pathogens. This particular antibody, which the researchers call S309, showed a strong ability to bind to and disable the “spike protein” on SARS-CoV-2 that allows the virus to enter cells, according to a statement from the University of Washington School of Medicine, which was involved in the research. Multiple authors on the study work for Vir Biotechnology, and the company is developing a therapeutic based on the study findings.
Since the study was conducted in lab dishes, much more research is needed to show whether the antibody would be effective at counteracting SARS-CoV-2 in humans. But Vir Biotechnology has fast-tracked the antibody for development and testing with the hope of starting a clinical trial in people, the statement said.
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