Antibody from SARS epidemic reacts with Coronavirus
The study, from a team at Scripps Research in California, is the first to map a human antibody’s interaction with the new coronavirus at near-atomic-scale resolution. Although the antibody was produced in response to an infection of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), which is caused by the SARS-CoV virus, it cross-reacts with the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.
“The knowledge of conserved sites like this can aid in structure-based design of vaccines and therapeutics against SARS-CoV-2, and these would also protect against other coronaviruses – including those that may emerge in the future,” said the study’s senior author Dr Ian Wilson Hansen Professor of Structural Biology and Chair of the Department of Integrative Structural and Computational Biology at Scripps Research.
SARS-CoV-2 is much more infectious than its viral cousin, it has led to a pandemic, causing far more cases of illness and fatalities than SARS. The development of a vaccine or even an effective treatment could significantly ameliorate the crisis.
The Wilson lab is known for its pioneering structural studies of antibodies bound to viruses including HIV and influenza. These studies have been used to inform designs of vaccines and antibody drugs, as well as other therapeutics. Along with hundreds of other labs around the world, Wilson’s team is now focused on SARS-CoV-2.
“Our ultimate goal here is to obtain structural information on antibodies and their binding sites, and use that to guide SARS-CoV-2 vaccine design, just as our lab has done with influenza and HIV,” says the study’s co-first author Nicholas Wu, PhD, a postdoctoral research associate in the Wilson lab.
The paper is published in Science.
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