California researchers have discovered what they are now calling a super-strength antibody that resists the coronavirus' most potent elements. The finding comes when countries all over the world are scrawling for a vaccine against the virus.
Dr Neeta Ogden, an internal medicine specialist, cautions that the discovery might not be perfect and does not act as immunity to COVID-19.
Super coronavirus antibodies
Ogden told news anchors that the importance of the finding is how researchers can use the data to see how they can effectively use it as a weapon to help neutralize the coronavirus infection, as reported by CBS News.
The super antibodies fight by hunting down what experts know as the spike protein of the coronavirus explains Ogden. Named after its spike-like physical appearance, the protein occupies the outside of the virus and is crucial for the coronavirus to latch itself to human cells.
The super antibodies, Ogden adds, effectively prevent the coronavirus from attaching itself to human cells and might even block out the infection altogether.
Natural antibodies against the coronavirus are found in 75% of patients while the super antibodies are only in less than 5%.
The rarity of the antibodies forced researchers to try and clone the cells that produce them to try and mass-produce the super antibodies to help in the fight against the pandemic by injecting them into infected patients.
Researchers found the super antibodies to reveal themselves 11 to 21 days after the initial infection, but they are still unclear on the length of their activity and effectivity.
Ogden added that the main issue for researchers is they do not fully understand how the super antibodies work and how long they would last. She also stressed the need to know what level of the antibodies would be needed for protective immunity and if reinfections if still possible.
According to ISAAA, some scientists have tested super antibodies in animals and human cell cultures. In the period of seven weeks, science experts isolated more than 1,000 unique antibody-producing immune cells which are called B cells, each of which produces a distinct coronavirus antibody.
A step in the right direction
The cloning of the super antibodies is one huge leap in the race for a coronavirus vaccine. Still, Ogden claims that a vaccine that could produce the neutralizing antibodies being made remains to be seen.
The expert said that realistically speaking, we could expect that the first version of the coronavirus vaccine will not act as complete immunity to the infection.
Multiple early-stage vaccines that researchers have tested on animals showed to be flawed in terms of immunity to the virus. They have, however, managed to prevent lung infections and severe pneumonia.
Ogden stated that a vaccine could mean a subject would only be mildly infected by the virus and would show as a simple cold. She added it could help prevent someone from being admitted into the hospital as a result of severe pneumonia or lung disease that most patients have suffered from.