As the Covid-19 pandemic continues across the globe, novel variants mutate and rise against current treatments. The protection afforded by vaccination wanes after a few months, and therapies that previously worked are ineffective against more recent instalments. Thus, the search for monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against all strains continues.
In July 2022 researchers from the National Institute of Health and Scripps Research Institute published a study in Science. They assessed the “neutralising potency” of six mAbs by introducing them to a neutralisation assay. The study concluded that COV44-62 and COV44-79 demonstrated the “broadest functional reactivity”, neutralising both betacoronaviruses and the alphacoronavirus HCoV-NL63 and HCoV-229E.
The study notes that COV44-62 achieved neutralisation with lower concentrations, which indicates a “more effective antibody”, but that COV44-79 neutralised Omicron BA.4/5 more efficiently. Omicron continues to drive infections worldwide, so this was a significant find. Dr William Haseltine in Forbes stated that while “most monoclonal antibodies target amino acids on either the receptor-binding domain, the N-terminal domain, or a combination of the two”, the two antibodies investigated “prefer to bind in the S2 portion of the Spike, specifically the fusion peptide”.
Dr Haseltine suggests that there is “no reason” to limit treatment to one antibody, instead favouring a “cocktail”. He predicts that this “cocktail” might be useful against current as well as future strains. Furthermore, he concludes, we must “prioritise and expedite these antibodies’ production” against the still-raging pandemic.
To participate in discussions about the global response to Covid-19, vaccinations and therapies, get your tickets to the World Vaccine Congress in Europe 2022 here.