Scientists from Erasmus MC and Utrecht University claim the discovery of an antibody against COVID-19. The scientific publication of the group of ten scientists is ready for evaluation by the leading journal Nature, reports Erasmus Magazine, which calls the discovery a world first.
“The antibody prevents the virus from being able to infect and can also help in the detection of the virus,” says professor of cell biology Frank Grosveld, one of the discoverers on behalf of Erasmus MC. “We’re now trying to get a pharmaceutical on board – which looks good, by the way – that can produce the antibody on a large scale as medicine.”
The article with findings from the scientists was already published on Thursday on a website called BioRxiv, on which biologists can publish their research and to which colleagues can respond. The summary talks about an antibody to SARS2, the coronavirus that causes the current pandemic with COVID-19.
The antibody can help detect and prevent this type of corona infection. According to Erasmus Magazine, the antibody has yet to be tested on humans, a process that takes months.
Even before the pandemic
In the article, Grosveld says that he and his fellow researchers had already isolated an antibody before the current pandemic. “From the previous study, we still had untested antibodies in the refrigerator that did not react with all three mutations, but with SARS1. When the current crisis – SARS2 – broke out, we immediately tested whether the antibodies that reacted with SARS1 also responded to SARS2 and found the antibody that has now been published.”
Grosveld says that in addition to developing the drug, the antibody can also be used to set up a diagnostic test. “One that everyone can just do at home so that people can easily know whether they have an infection or not.”
The invention is especially essential for making a medicine, says Grosveld. “If you were to take this as a patient, it is expected – and that is only an expectation – that the infection can be stopped in the patient.” According to him, a real solution is a vaccine. “Others are working on that. However, developing a vaccine can easily take two years. The medicine of us is there, if it all works, sooner.”