A team led by Scripps Research has discovered antibodies in the blood of recovered COVID-19 patients that provide powerful protection against SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes the disease, when tested in animals and human cell cultures.
The research, published today in Science, offers a paradigm of swift reaction to an emergent and deadly viral pandemic, and sets the stage for clinical trials and additional tests of the antibodies, which are now being produced as potential treatments and preventives for COVID-19.
“The discovery of these very potent antibodies represents an extremely rapid response to a totally new pathogen,” says study co-senior author Dennis Burton, PhD, the James and Jessie Minor Chair in Immunology in the Department of Immunology & Microbiology at Scripps Research.
In principle, injections of such antibodies could be given to patients in the early stage of COVID-19 to reduce the level of virus and protect against severe disease. The antibodies also may be used to provide temporary, vaccine-like protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection for healthcare workers, elderly people and others who respond poorly to traditional vaccines or are suspected of a recent exposure to the coronavirus.
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