Israeli researchers have identified two antibodies from the immune systems of COVID-19 patients who have recovered. These antibodies have a 95% chance of neutralising all known strains of SARS-CoV-2, including Omicron. The Tel Aviv University researchers stated that, particularly for at-risk groups and those with compromised immune systems, tailored therapy with antibodies and their delivery to the body in high quantities may serve as an efficient replacement for vaccinations.
The researchers claimed there is a chance that antibody therapy would reduce the requirement to administer repeated booster doses to the whole population each time a new variation appears.
The investigation, which was only just published in the journal Communications Biology, is an extension of initial work done in October 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 crisis. At that time, the scientists discovered nine antibodies that the patients made after sequencing all of the B immune system cells from the blood of persons who had recovered from the initial COVID-19 strain in Israel.
The researchers now found that some of these antibodies are very effective in neutralising the new coronavirus variants, Delta and Omicron. “In the previous study, we showed that the various antibodies that are formed in response to infection with the original virus are directed against different sites of the virus,” said Natalia Freund, who co-led the study.
“The most effective antibodies were those that bound to the virus’s ‘spike’ protein, in the same place where the spike binds the cellular receptor ACE2,” Freund said.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus uses the spike protein to infect and enter the cells. In the current study, the researchers proved that two other antibodies, TAU-1109 and TAU-2310, which bind the viral spike protein in a different area from the region where most of the antibodies were concentrated until now are actually very effective in neutralising the Delta and Omicron variants. “According to our findings, the effectiveness of the first antibody, TAU-1109, in neutralising the Omicron strain is 92 per cent, and in neutralising the Delta strain, 90 per cent.,” Freund said.
Also Read: Waiting list for eye transplantation at AIIMS, Delhi grows threefold after COVID
Dr. Freund believes that the antibodies can bring about a real revolution in the fight against COVID-19: “We need to look at the COVID-19 pandemic in the context of previous disease outbreaks that humankind has witnessed. People who were vaccinated against smallpox at birth and who today are 50 years old still have antibodies, so they are probably protected, at least partially, from the monkeypox virus that we have recently been hearing about. Unfortunately, this is not the case with the coronavirus.”
“For reasons we still don’t yet fully understand, the level of antibodies against COVID-19 declines significantly after three months, which is why we see people getting infected again and again, even after being vaccinated three times. In our view, targeted treatment with antibodies and their delivery to the body in high concentrations can serve as an effective substitute for repeated boosters, especially for at-risk populations and those with weakened immune systems. COVID-19 infection can cause serious illness, and we know that providing antibodies in the first days following infection can stop the spread of the virus. It is therefore possible that by using effective antibody treatment, we will not have to provide booster doses to the entire population every time there is a new variant,” she said.
Meanwhile, India saw another rise in Covid-19 cases with 6,396 infections reported in the last 24 hours, according to the Union health ministry data updated on Thursday. The rise comes a day after the country reported 5,379 cases. Prior on 6 September, India saw lowest cases in three months which was 4,417.