FocusTsinghua finds powerful antibody for SARS-CoV-2

Antibodies are a critical component of our immune system and play an important role in protecting humans from viral infection.

The team led by Prof. Zhang Linqi from the School of Medicine and Prof. Zhang Zheng from Shenzhen Third People’s Hospital have just reported their successful isolation of 206 monoclonal antibodies from 8 COVID-19 patients.

Some of these antibodies demonstrated highly potent neutralizing activity against live SARS-CoV-2 virus. These antibodies represent promising candidates for prophylactic and therapeutic interventions against SARS-CoV-2. 

This result has been posted on online open resource platform bioRxiv (https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.21.990770v2).

Antibodies disrupt the interaction between the viral RBD and celluar receptor ACE2 thereby preventing viral entry into the target cells.

The lead antibodies have already entered the development phase and researchers seek clinical trials on COVID-19 patients as early as possible.

While conventional measures such as social distancing, good personal hygiene and protection equipment have proven effective, medical intervention such as safe and effective vaccines and antiviral drugs are more necessary than ever.

The latest progress in antibody discovery from Prof Zhang’s team addresses unmet medical needs, providing powerful tool to prevent and treat SARS-CoV-2 infections.

Cellular entry of SARS-CoV-2 is dependent on the interaction between the viral Spike protein and the cell receptor ACE2.

Antibodies able to block such interaction would offer effective and powerful means to disrupt viral entry, thereby cutting off the production line for viral replication.

Antibodies identified by Prof. Zhang’s team therefore represent promising candidates for prophylactic and therapeutic agents against SARS-CoV-2 infections.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in early January, 2020, the team led by Prof. Zhang has been working around the clock. Many students and researchers sacrificed their Chinese New Year’s holidays and precious time with their family.

Their dedication, hard work and collaborative spirit represent the core values of the new generation of scientists in China.

Despite challenges ahead, the team is confident that scientific discoveries such as antibodies and vaccine will provide powerful and effective measures in achieving the ultimate cure and complete protection against SARS-CoV-2.


Source: School of Medicine