Monoclonal antibodies are emerging as powerful tools to prevent infectious diseases. Recently, the rate of antibody detection has accelerated, and the 2019 Coronavirus Disease Pandemic (COVID-19) has highlighted the importance of these antibodies in the fight against pathogens such as severe acute coronavirus 2 respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV-2). ). However, there is still a question about the utility of monoclonal antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, especially when effective vaccines are already available.
Joshua Tan of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health wrote a review article in the journal DNA and cell biology on the role of monoclonal antibodies and briefly described a study of bispecific antibodies that neutralize SARS-CoV-2. The research team has generated bispecific antibodies to target different regions of the nail protein, the virus’ main target on the surface. Several of these antibodies have been shown to be extremely effective in neutralizing SARS-CoV-2 in both cell culture and animal experiments. Because these bispecific antibodies target two different sites on the nail protein, they will be less affected by mutations that change the shape of a single site. In fact, two of these antibodies have demonstrated complete functionality against the alpha, beta, gamma, and delta variants.
Overview of research into monoclonal antibodies. Each person makes many different antibodies in response to infection or vaccination. A major goal of monoclonal antibody research is to identify the most potent antibodies to a specific pathogen of interest. Potent antibodies can be tested for the ability to prevent or treat disease in humans. The site of the pathogen bound by the potent antibody can be evaluated for use in a vaccine for the purpose of triggering the production of these potent antibodies when the vaccine is administered. Image created with Biorender.com.
As the pandemic with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) shows, vaccines that work well are the most effective strategy to avoid infectious diseases in most cases. Successful vaccines work by priming the immune system to fight a specific infection, usually by inducing potent antibodies against it. As a result, when the virus arrives, it is met by an army of antibodies (and immune cells) that are ready to neutralize it before it establishes a foothold and spreads throughout the body. One of the most critical functions of monoclonal antibodies, such as vaccinations, is to act as a disease prevention agent.
The use of monoclonal antibodies during the COVID-19 epidemic is an example that connects many of the themes already mentioned. This pandemic has shown the devastation that an uninhibited infectious pathogen can cause. Since the onset of the pandemic, various research laboratories have been working hard to find effective monoclonal antibodies against the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). This effort has been seen as a complement to vaccines, and it continues in full force, even after many COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to be extremely effective.
The scientific community has produced a significant number of potent neutralizing antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 at a breakneck rate, including three drugs approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat mild to moderate COVID-19 patients at risk. to more serious illness. COVID-19-related hospitalization and deaths have been observed to be reduced by these antibodies. During an infectious disease, monoclonal antibodies may be useful in downregulating a pathogenic immune response. Tocilizumab, an antibody that targets the immunological protein IL-6, is currently being used to treat severe COVID-19 cases.
The effectiveness of these monoclonal antibodies against the variations of concern that have emerged in the last year has been a major source of concern. To solve this problem, the authors developed bispecific antibodies that attack separate regions of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, the primary target of the virus on the surface. Several of these antibodies have been shown to be particularly successful in neutralizing SARS-CoV-2 in cell culture and preventing disease in an animal model.
These bispecific antibodies will be less affected by mutations that modify the shape of a single site because they target two separate sites on the nail protein, and two of them have been shown to be fully effective against alpha, beta, gamma and the delta versions. As new variants evolve, the scientific community will continue to study the available pool of antibodies to ensure that they are still effective against them.
Three deadly coronaviruses, an influenza pandemic and many Ebola outbreaks have all taken place in the twenty-first century. Unfortunately, this trend is likely to continue with more encounters with wildlife carrying unknown infections, and the rise in worldwide travel, which enables rapid transmission of new pathogens. The scientific community should be prepared not only to respond to new infections but also to anticipate their onset. This is where research into monoclonal antibodies can help. For example, a potent monoclonal antibody that cross-reacts with several coronaviruses would be extremely valuable in averting future epidemics. As a result, monoclonal antibodies are expected to remain effective weapons in the fight against infectious diseases.