Collaboration to Develop Monoclonal Antibody Therapy to Prevent and Treat COVID-19

Update: Researchers report discovery of human antibody

Onderzoekers aan de Universiteit Utrecht doen onderzoek naar het nieuwe coronavirus, COVID-19. Zij werken aan de ontwikkeling van vaccins, antistoffen en diagnostische testen.

Utrecht University (UU), Erasmus Medical Center (EMC), Harbour BioMed (HBM), and AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV) announced they have entered into a collaboration to develop a novel antibody therapeutic to prevent and treat COVID-19, the pandemic respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The focus of the collaboration is on advancing the fully human, neutralizing antibody 47D11 discovered by UU, EMC and HBM and recently reported in Nature Communications. This antibody targets the conserved domain of the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2.

“The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has highlighted the importance of understanding coronavirus biology,” said Berend-Jan Bosch, PhD, Associate Professor, Research leader at UU. “The collaboration with AbbVie provides an excellent opportunity to translate our research into a clinical candidate with great potential for advancing the fight against this disease.” 

Antibody blocks infection

The antibody discovery, published online on May 4 in Nature Communications, targets a conserved region of the virus’ spike protein. In cell culture studies the antibody blocked infection by the SARS-CoV-2 and a second coronavirus SARS-CoV. The antibody is fully human, which is designed to facilitate its development and minimize immune-related side effects.