They work in vitro on mammalian cells: now it is necessary to produce enough doses for the first tests on humans, but the strategy seems promising
An international collaboration, coordinated by the University of Toronto (Canada) and with the participation of the teams from the University of Tor Vergata, of turin and institutes Spallanzani is Neuromed, designed the first ones synthetic monoclonal antibodies effective against coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. In the study, available in preprint on bioRxiv, researchers show how three of the identified molecules bind to protein spike of the virus by modifying its structure in mammalian cell cultures. These are evidences that bode well for the development of a treatment against Covid-19 quickly.
These synthetic antibodies are molecules that have been drawn on the computer from the Canadian Trac (Toronto Recombinant Antibody Center) database of recombinant antibodies and the test in vitro were conducted both by the University of St Louis in the United States and by the Institute Spallanzani in Italy.
These molecules – explained to theAdnkronos Giuseppe Novelli, geneticist of the University of Tor Vergata and among the authors of the research – they are synthetic but of human derivation and have proven to bind specifically to the spike protein of the new coronavirus and to modify it by interfering a lot effective with the ability of the pathogen to infect. Basically it is as if they folded the key that the virus uses to open the door of access to cells.
Just because humans, added the researcher, “should be well tolerated, and have a fairly long silk half-life. They could be used both in prophylaxis and in therapy “.
The trial data in vitro of synthetic monoclonal antibodies, according to experts, are a confirmation of the fact that the strategy of providing apassive immunity against the virus (with this approach, in fact, the body is not induced to actively produce antibodies, as a vaccine does) it works well and is ready to move on to the next phase, that of experimentation on the human being.
“These antibodies are now ready for clinical trials and it would be really important to be able to carry them out also in Italy”, commented Maria Capobianchi of the Spallanzani Institute. “We could quickly have a specific anti-Covid weapon awaiting the vaccine “.
If an agreement is found with apharmaceutical company to produce enough doses, clinical trials could begin within a few months. “There are already negotiations underway to evaluate times and costs “, concluded Novelli.
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