Scientists find Sars-Cov-2 neutralizing antibodies

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Peter Horby, professor of emerging infectious diseases and global health at the University of Oxford and chief investigator of the trial, said: "We have already discovered that one treatment, dexamethasone, benefits Covid-19 patients, but the death rate remains too high so we must keep searching for others".

"The Pitt team found the component of immunoglobulin by "'fishing' in a pool of more than 100 billion potential candidates" using the spike protein of the COVID-19 virus as "bait", according to the news release. The drug also reportedly does not bind to human cells, which suggests it will not have negative side-effects in people. They have found this drug to be largely effective in the prevention and treatment of infections. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), University of Columbia, University of Saskatchewan, and University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) already evaluated Ab8's effectiveness.

Nick Cammack, who is leading Covid-19 therapeutics work for Wellcome, said: "Novel antivirals and monoclonal antibodies are among the most exciting and promising treatments for Covid-19 because they are specific to the disease, but they are also traditionally the most expensive". It is created when the VH domain is fused to part of the immunoglobulin tail region, adding the immune functions of a full-sized antibody without the bulk.

Researchers are also "thinking outside the box" for how the drug could be administered, stating it may be able to be inhaled or through a superficial injection, instead of an IV.

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UPMC and University of Pittsburgh medical researchers announced a "scientific breakthrough" in a Tuesday afternoon news conference that may provide the key to fighting COVID-19. Due to the smaller size, it can easily diffuse into the tissues and effectively neutralizes the virus. This corresponds to the specificity of an antibody molecule towards a particular virus.

At very low concentrations, Ab8 completely blocked the virus from entering cells.

Convalescent plasma - blood plasma taken from patients who have recovered from SARS-CoV-2 and therefore contains anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies - is now being tested in clinical trials as a treatment for those battling COVID-19. Even at the lowest dose, Ab8 causes a 10-fold decrease in the amount of infectious virus in the mice. "The other major use is to prevent infection", said Mellors. This also better neutralizes the virus.

"The pandemic is a global challenge facing humanity, but biomedical science and human ingenuity are likely to overcome it", said Mellors, also Distinguished Professor of Medicine, who holds the Endowed Chair for Global Elimination of HIV and AIDS at Pitt.

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