Researchers at the German Center for Infection Research also analyzed how particles capable of neutralizing the new coronavirus develop in the body.
Scientists led by the German Center for Infection Research have analyzed how neutralizing antibodies against Sars-CoV-2 develop in the human body. The study – published on Tuesday (7) in the scientific journal Cell – studied the immune system of 12 people who had Covid-19 and recovered.
The production of neutralizing antibodies allows our body to fight invading pathogens (in this case, the new coronavirus). For this reason, it is necessary to understand how these particles are formed to develop treatments and vaccines. “Our goal was to better understand the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 and to identify highly potent antibodies that could be used to prevent and treat COVID-19,” explained Florian Klein, the study’s leader, in a statement.
According to the scientists, more than 4,000 cell types present in the volunteers’ bodies were analyzed. This allowed the team to recreate 255 antibodies in the laboratory, 28 of which proved capable of neutralizing the new coronavirus.
In addition, when analyzing blood samples collected before the pandemic, the scientists discovered the existence of immune cells very similar to the neutralizing antibodies of Sars-CoV-2. “Interestingly, many antibodies showed only a small number of mutations,” said Matthias Zehner, co-author of the research. “This means that only minor changes were necessary to effectively recognise and neutralise the virus.”
According to the researchers, the antibodies developed in the laboratory could be used in the treatment of Covid-19 and even as a prophylactic measure to prevent the disease. “This form of intervention could be of particularly interest for stopping localised outbreaks and for preventing disease progression in people at risk,” said Klein. Scientists hope that the first clinical trials with the material will be carried out by the end of 2020.