Design and development of engineered monoclonal antibodies against Sars-CoV-2 

International study, with the participation of researchers from two important Italian universities, to block the variants of Covid-19

Curated by Maria Giuditta Valorani, PhD

An interesting international research study on new targeted and immediate therapies against the virus Sars-CoV-2, was published in the international journal Cell Reports.

Described the possibility of blocking the variants of the virus

The important results obtained from research and presented in the article, described the possibility of blocking the variants of the virus itself, using a single molecule at very low concentrations and not an antibody cocktail. 

Monoclonal antibodies against Sars-CoV-2 have been engineered to enhance their neutralizing capabilities.

Possible immediate protection from infection

Passive infusion of these monoclonal antibodies as pre-exposure or post-exposure prophylaxis can offer immediate protection from infections that could last weeks or months. 

Bispecific tetravalent antibodies neutralize virus variants that resist divalent IgG

Study resulting from an international collaboration

The study is the result of an important international collaboration between various researchers: the group headed by Prof. Giuseppe Novelli, ofTor Vergata University From Romeof the Prof. Arnaldo Caruso, and the Prof. Francesca Caccuri, ofUniversity of Bresciaand researchers from other institutions, the University of Washington in America and the University of Toronto, Canadian.

Prof. Giuseppe Novelli

This new antibody binds to the “Spike” protein, which Sars-Cov.2 uses to enter cells, with a potency at least 100 times that of other available antibodies and neutralizes a wide range of virus variants. 

The technology used

The technology used has enabled the development of a robust and modular platform for the rapid production of next-generation monoclonal antibodies, which far exceed traditional bivalent antibodies. 

“It was thought, says Prof. Novelli, of  modify the structure of bivalent antibodies on the market today, by engineering them  and causing them to become antibodies tetravalent. From two antibodies we made one, which has four times more ability to block the virus, binding to it in several parts simultaneously. 

100 times more powerful antibodies

This causes the new antibodies are 100 times more potent, in terms of neutralizing capacity, compared to traditional ones ".

Furthermore, the possibility of obtaining highly neutralizing antibodies with great rapidity can constitute a new weapon to counteract rapidly changing viruses such as Sars-CoV-2.

Prof. Giuseppe Novelli describing the results of this study he also states that “The design, development and production of next generation monoclonal antibodies is urgent in order to have targeted and immediate therapies. Monoclonal antibodies could limit the progression of the disease during early infection, especially due to the emergence of new variants that escape vaccines ”.

And the Prof. Caruso he adds “We have to think in the long term, the emergence of new variants capable of evading immunity acquired naturally or following vaccination, requires the ever faster development of neutralizing monoclonals. The ready availability of these antibodies capable of counteracting these new variants will allow not only to enhance a possible therapy with specific antiviral drugs - making the course of the disease milder and of short duration - but also to protect everyone for a long time and effectively. those immunocompromised or frail patients who do not respond to vaccination ".