Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have isolated “the smallest biological molecule” that “completely and specifically neutralizes” the virus that causes coronavirus.
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The antibody component is 10 times smaller than a full-size antibody and has been used to create the drug Ab8, shared in the report published by researchers in the journal Cell Monday. The drug is seen as a potential preventative against SARS-CoV-2.
According to the report, the drug has been “extremely effective in preventing and treating” SARS-CoV-2 infections in mice and hamsters during testing. The drug also reportedly does not bind to human cells, suggesting that it will not have adverse side effects in humans.
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“Ab8 not only has potential as a therapy for COVID-19, but it can also be used to prevent people from getting SARS-CoV-2 infections,” said co-author John Mellors, head 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 can be an effective treatment for patients with COVID-19 and to protect those who have never had the infection and are not. immune.”
Xianglei Liu of Pitt is also co-author of the study.
Researchers are also thinking outside the box about how the drug can be administered, saying it could possibly be inhaled or through a superficial injection instead of an IV.
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According to the report, the team at the University of Texas Medical Branch Center for Biodefense and Emerging Diseases and Galveston National Laboratory tested Ab8 and found that it blocked the virus from entering cells. In mouse experiments, they had treated with Ab8 10 times less of the amount of infectious virus compared to those that were untreated.