COVID-19: Newly identified human antibodies prevent spreading in cells

COVID-19: Newly identified human antibodies prevent spreading in cells

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Can the SARS-CoV-2 infection be prevented?

A newly identified fully human monoclonal antibody prevents the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus from infecting cells. This discovery is the first step in the development of a fully human antibody to treat or prevent the respiratory disease COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2.

The current joint study by Utrecht University, the Erasmus Medical Center and Harbor BioMed found that a human monoclonal antibody prevents the spread of SARS-CoV-2 - at least in laboratory tests on cell cultures. The results of the study were published in the English language journal "Nature Communications".

Antibodies neutralize infection in cultured cells

The new research work builds on investigations of antibodies against the SARS-CoV coronavirus that occurred in 2002/2003. "With the help of this collection of SARS-CoV antibodies, we were able to identify an antibody that also neutralizes the infection with SARS-CoV-2 in cultured cells," reports Professor Berend-Jan Bosch from Utrecht University in a press release.

What can the antibody do?

Such a neutralizing antibody has the potential to change the course of infection of the infected body, to help fight the virus, or to protect an uninfected individual who is exposed to the virus, the expert adds.

Antibodies to protect against new coronaviruses

The antibody binds to a domain that occurs in both SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2. This explains its ability to neutralize both viruses. This property of the antibody suggests that it could also have the potential to alleviate diseases that will be caused by related coronaviruses in the future, the researchers report.

Results are the basis for new research

"This discovery forms a solid basis for further research to characterize this antibody and to start developing a possible COVID-19 treatment," emphasizes study author Professor Dr. Frank Grosveld from the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam.

Benefits of a human antibody

Conventional therapeutic antibodies are first developed in other species, requiring additional steps to subsequently humanize them. The antibody used in this study is completely human, which allows development to proceed faster and reduce the risk of immune-related side effects, the research team explains. However, there is still a lot of work to be done before widespread use, in order to be able to clearly assess whether this antibody can actually alleviate COVID-19 in humans. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Chunyan Wang, Wentao Li, Dubravka Drabek, Nisreen M. A. Okba, Rien van Haperen et al .: A human monoclonal antibody blocking SARS-CoV-2 infection, in Nature Communications (published May 4, 2020), Nature Communications
  • Researchers report discovery of antibody that blocks infection by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 in cells, Utrecht University (published May 4, 2020), Utrecht University

Video: Human monoclonal antibodies as therapeutics against viral and bacterial infections (June 2022).