Molecule was used to create a drug, Ab8, which researchers say is able to treat and prevent COVID-19 infection.
Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine were able to isolate “the smallest biological molecule” capable of neutralizing the covid-19 virus.
It is a molecule that is ten times smaller than a full-length antibody but “completely and specifically” neutralizes the SARS-CoV-2 virus and was used to create a drug, Ab8, capable of treating and preventing the new coronavirus.
The study by the Pittsburgh researchers was published on Monday in the scientific journal Cell and assures that Ab8 is very effective in preventing and treating covid-19 infection in rats and hamsters. Because it is a small molecule, it has great potential for diffusion between tissues to neutralize the virus and allows the drug to be administered by alternative routes, namely through inhalation. And, because it does not attach to human cells, it is less likely to have harmful side effects among patients.
AB8 HAS NOT ONLY POTENTIAL TO BE USED AS A TREATMENT FOR COVID-19 BUT IT CAN ALSO BE USED TO PREVENT PEOPLE FROM CONTROVING COVORNAVIRUS INFECTIONS “, explains one of the scientists involved in the study, John Mellors, from the infectious diseases department of University of Pittsburgh medical center.
The lead author of the study now published in the journal Cell is Dimiter Dimitrov, director of the Pitt Center for Antibody Therapy, who was one of the first to discover antibodies capable of fighting the coronavirus that causes SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), whose outbreak goes back to 2003. Last February, together with his team, Dimitrov began examining large libraries of antibody components, made from human blood samples and found several candidates for combating covid-19.
Ab8 was used in rats in different concentrations and, even at the lowest dose, managed to decrease the amount of virus in animals ten times.