Researchers in the Netherlands have identified an antibody that can stop the new coronavirus from infecting cells in laboratory tests. The scientists are hopeful that this will help with the development of therapies for Covid-19.
According to the research published in Nature Communications, the antibody neutralised the new coronavirus and the authors said it “offers the potential to prevent and/or treat Covid-19”.
Researchers from Utrecht University and the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam injected cells of “humanised mice” with purified versions of the spike proteins used by different coronaviruses, including the ones that cause SARS and MERS, to infect cells. This immunisation-like process caused the cells to produce neutralising antibodies, which the researchers then purified and tested against the virus that causes Covid-19 and the one that causes SARS.
“Simply because we have found an antibody which neutralises a virus in a group of cells in a lab Petri dish doesn’t mean that we can expect the same response in patients,” said James Gill, honorary clinical lecturer at Warwick Medical School, cautioning that there was a long way to go before knowing if the newly discovered antibody would work as a treatment.