As SARS-CoV-2 variants grow in type and frequency, Covid-19 researchers are on the hunt for parts of the virus that remain consistent across variants in order to create Covid-19 treatments that work for multiple strains of the virus. This is the first in a series discussing these potential Achilles’ heels for Covid-19. In a search for an Achilles’ Heel for the virus, the scientific world is monitoring potential targets for virus neutralization. One of these targets is a highly conserved region of the receptor-binding domain in the spike protein and two new monoclonal antibodies targeting this region are rapidly advancing in development and trial. The first of Vir Biotechnology and GSK’s two experimental antibodies, VIR 7831, aims to be used as a monotherapy for the early treatment of Covid-19 in adults at high risk of hospitalization. Early trial returns showed an 85% reduction in hospitalization or death, indicating the potential success of the antibody. The second, VIR 7832, is still in the preliminary stages of study as a dual-action prophylactic that potentially blocks viral entry to healthy cells and enhances clearance of infected cells. These antibodies are highly engineered and merit deeper analyses, as they could have wide-ranging therapeutic and prophylactic success against Covid-19, including SARS-CoV-2 variants, in the near future. Work began on these antibodies as early as April and May 2020 as researchers searched for neutralizing monoclonal antibodies for SARS-CoV that may carry over effectiveness to SARS-CoV-2. One SARS-CoV antibody extracted from B-cells in a SARS-CoV patient, S309, potently neutralized both SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2, prompting a deeper study of the antibody and the epitope to which it binds. Read the full article on Forbes.
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