Patients with severe Covid-19 produce stronger antibodies, study suggests

Hyperaxion Jul 23, 2020

US researchers isolated antibodies from people infected with the new coronavirus and detected a high neutralizing capacity against Sars-CoV-2.

Antibodies produced by people with Covid-19 are among the most potent in their ability to neutralize Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease.

And that potential is even greater in severe cases of the disease, according to a new study by Columbia University in the United States, published this week in the journal Nature.

Patients with severe Covid-19 produce stronger antibodies
In blue: how two different antibodies bind to the spike protein. (Credit: David Ho / Columbia University Irving Medical Center).

One of the main responses of the human body to an infection is to produce antibodies, proteins that bind to the invading pathogen to neutralize and mark it so that other cells of the immune system know that they need to destroy it.

According to scientists, most antibodies against Sars-CoV-2 bind to the spike glycoprotein, a structure on the surface of the virus that allows it to infect human cells.

“These findings show which sites on the viral spike are most vulnerable,” said David Ho, who led the research, in a statement. “We discovered that these powerful antibodies are not too difficult for the immune system to generate. This bodes well for vaccine development. Vaccines that elicit strong neutralizing antibodies should provide robust protection against the virus.”

While an effective vaccine against Sars-CoV-2 is not created, experts believe that this finding may be useful in treating Covid-19 with the use of an antibody cocktail.

In blue: how the antibody binds to the spike protein. (Credit: David Ho / Columbia University Irving Medical Center).

According to the researchers, initial tests carried out on mice were successful and they now plan to test the effectiveness of antibody cocktails on other animals and humans.

“Using a cocktail of different antibodies that are directed to different sites in spike will help prevent the virus becoming resistant to the treatment,” Ho said. “We now have a collection of antibodies that’s more potent and diverse compared to other antibodies that have been found so far, and they are ready to be developed into treatments.”

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