The 47D11 antibody is our hope for a cure. Good news comes from the Dutch research labs. It is a moderate hope to face these days of trepidation.
The University of Utrecht together with Erasmus Mc in Rotterdam have identified the first monoclonal antibody. It is able to cope with Covid-19 disease.
The merit of the discovery belongs to cell biology professor Frank Grosveld and his team. The researchers were already working on an antibody against Sars. Then the Covid-19 or Sars2 epidemic exploded. They realized that the antibodies effective against the first disease could also block the second. Grosveld, interviewed, spoke openly about this isolated antibody. It prevents SarsCov2 from infecting. It can also help detect the virus.
Dutch researchers sent their twenty-four-page study to the scientific journal Nature. So now they await publication. However, the document is already on the BioRxiv digital platform. The title of the research is: “A human monoclonal antibody that blocks SarsCov2 infection.” We are not talking about a vaccine. Instead of the 47D11 antibody. In about a month it will be tested on patients.
The 47D11 antibody to attack the spikes
This is because it has already been identified as a “neutralizing” antibody, that is, with an already proven ability to attack the virus. This is an excellent milestone, which encourages a cautious optimism. Well, research is the first report on a monoclonal antibody that neutralizes SarsCov2. In practice, the 47D11 antibody binds an epitope, which is part of the virus recognizable by the immune system, stored on the receptor. The antibody identified by the Dutch team attacks the spikes of the virus, which surround the viral molecule.
Spikes attaching themselves to the mucous membranes cause the collapse of the lungs. The antibody blocks an important pathogenic part of the virus, which causes lethal pneumonia. So blocking the spikes and neutralizing them means stopping the infection. Nonetheless, it is as if the antibody clings to the surface of the virus, destroying it. At the moment, as an alternative to the vaccine, which still requires a long time, this antibody can be a functional therapy.
In essence, the method is that of the so-called “passive immunity”. In this way, according to the Dutch study, the antibody can cross-neutralize “sarsCov2”. For this, the antibody will be useful. It will treat patients, and will also serve for the development of antigen detection tests.
The main thing is that neutralizing antibodies alter the course of the infection. They come to erase the virus. According to the research, this is a very important step towards a definitive care. Milan’s Sacco hospital has been using the same method on patients who had abnormal pneumonia between December and January. The goal of Italian researchers is the same. However, antibodies have yet to be identified. Once found, they will have to figure out if they are capable of hitting SarsCov2. The Dutch university, however, is far ahead, in fact, in less than a month they can take action on the first patients.
Hence, Utrecht researchers together with Erasmus Mc in Rotterdam already instil concrete hope. This is because, by neutralizing the spikes that create pneumonia, Covid-19 disease can be brought down. Meanwhile, the work of Dutch researchers can be consulted on the BioRxiv website. Finding out that the monoclonal antibody prevents human cells from attaching was crucial. This makes it impossible for the virus to penetrate inside to replicate itself, and it is a big step forward. For this reason, the Dutch team is convinced that the antibody has decisive potential. It will serve for the treatment and prevention of Covid-19. Studies are still ongoing and the antibody will undergo very severe tests. However, the researchers are confident. They hope they can convince a pharmaceutical industry to manufacture it. This will quickly make therapy available to patients.