On the tenth floor of the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, they found an antibody that can block infection of SARS-COV-1 and SARS-COV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19).
This means that this might be the discovery of the first-ever antibody that can fight the Coronavirus, or COVID-19 as it’s officially known. The findings are set to be published in the prestigious science journal Nature.
Before you get too excited, keep in mind that these findings have still not been peer-reviewed and there haven’t been any tests done on humans yet to find out the efficiency of the antibody against the Coronavirus.
However, one of the professors involved in the discovery, Frank Grosveld, is reportedly very excited, saying: “We expect an email at any moment.”
In an interview with Erasmus Magazine, Grosveld discusses the discovery of the antibody.
He says that about 15 years ago he started a hobby project where he wanted to see if he can develop human antibodies in mice.
It succeeded and led to the development of an Erasmus MC company called Antibodies BV that develops antibodies designed to cure tumors.
He then goes further explaining that they had joined a European project named ZAPI (Zoonosex Anticipation and Preparedness Initiative, ed.) in which they began developing antibodies that can fight against MERS, SARS, and another Hongkong coronavirus (OC-43).
They successfully found antibodies that kept them from infecting and contained the viruses.
They still kept a few of those antibodies in their test lab, one of which would end up published on BioRxiv, a website that published their research before it’s fully assessed.
Speaking about the antibody Grosveld said, “We still kept untested antibodies from the previous study in the refrigerator that did not react with all three mutations but did with SARS1.”
“When the current crisis – SARS2 – broke out, we immediately tested whether the antibodies that reacted with SARS1 also responded to SARS2. We then found the antibody that has now been published,” he said.
According to Grosveld, this antibody, if found successful in human trials, will be released as a cure against the Coronavirus.
However, he adds that “prevention is better than a cure” and so we should wait for a vaccine. He says that that can “easily take 2 years” and that their medicine could be here sooner.
China is currently working on a vaccine that is expected to be released for testing and as an emergency by April. Whether this vaccine will work or not is only a matter of time.
The antibody is currently under peer-review and is expected to be published by the prestigious science journal Nature. If you would like to read more about the discovery, click here.