Coronavirus: antibodies that neutralize Sars-Cov-2 discovered by researchers from South Korea

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Carlos Laforet Coll
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South Korean scientists, studying Covid-19, Sars and Mers, have managed to find antibodies capable of neutralizing the coronavirus

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Good news on the Coronavirus front comes from South Korea where a team of researchers has identified antibodies capable of neutralizing the virus Sars-Cov-2





South Korea is one of the countries most heavily affected by the Coronavirus outbreak, with over 6.000 cases and 42 deaths at the moment. No wonder that research in this country is very active and now an important news comes from here: a team of scientists from the Korea Chemical Technology Research Institute (CEVI) announced that they have found some antibodies capable of blocking the action of the much feared virus.

Their study, published in bioRxiv, specifically talks about coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), a new emerging human infectious disease caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome virus Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2, formerly also known as 2019-nCoV ), originally from the Wuhan Fish and Animal Market, China.

And so far nothing new. However, the research focused on a very important point: the search for specific antibodies capable of stopping the advance of the virus.

As stated in the research abstract:

"The neutralizing antibody, which binds to the viral capsid in order to inhibit the cellular entry of the virus and the lining of the genome, is the specific defense against viral invaders"

The search was therefore made for antibodies capable of "fighting" and neutralizing the activity of the virus in the cell. And indeed the result was obtained: the antibodies were detected on the basis of antibody studies on the SARS virus (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome) and, according to experts, could be used in the future by health professionals to treat the Coronavirus.

It is two SARS neutralizing antibodies and one MERS neutralizing antibody which can combine with the COVID-19 Spike protein. Spike is a protein used by the Coronavirus to infiltrate cells.



As the scientists explained, if patients are injected with antigens through vaccines that use antibodies that neutralize SARS and MERS, the human body, thanks to the immune response, can form antibodies and neutralize pathogens.

Kim Bum Tae, head of the CEVI synthesis research group, said: "We will deploy all our research capabilities on how to deal with Covid-19".

Additionally, the team obtained nCoV RNA by culturing viruses from infected people in Korea and realizing that Covid-19 in Korea would be easier to detect than in other countries.

Photo: © KRICT

The researchers then confirmed the similarities between the SARS and COVID-19 viruses by analyzing the latter's genome.

The discovery of antibodies that neutralize nCoV is a good sign that paves the way for the formulation of vaccines and drugs to prevent and treat Coronavirus around the world.

Sources: Korea Biomedical Review/ bioRxiv

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