Research is proceeding very quickly to look for possible treatments to counter the spread of the novel coronavirus. A few days ago a research has been published in the prestigious journal Nature Communication by a team of Dutch researchers of the University of Utrecht, in which it is announced that a monoclonal antibody able to block both the novel coronavirus and the SARS virus has been discovered.
Scientists started from a previous research that found a set of monoclonal antibodies able to block the SARS virus, which had spread in the 2002/2003 biennium. Given this set of antibodies, the scientists looked for which one could also block the novel coronavirus in the laboratory. This is possible due to the fact that the two viruses are very similar in appearance and have, in the outer layer, parts in common. Well, the researchers found a monoclonal antibody able to block both SARS and the novel coronavirus. The strength of this discovery is that the antibody is human and therefore this has the advantage of speeding up the search that, otherwise, would require further steps to manipulate the antibody, humanize it and test it. In addition, the fact that the antibody is human reduces the possibility of side effects related to the immune response.
This research needs further studies that will follow in the coming weeks but is set to be a truly important discovery in the fight against coronavirus. Firstly, because, as stated by the scientists themselves, this could help develop effective serological tests, then because these monoclonal antibodies could both cure those who are already infected and protect those who have not yet contracted the virus. Finally, the fact that the antibody is able to block both SARS virus and the novel coronavirus opens the way for effective treatments for any future coronavirus epidemics.