The experts seek to find an antiviral that could block the virus’ entry into cells.
Rabat – Spanish scientists are attempting to find an antiviral for COVID-19, using antibodies from dromedaries, also known as Arabian camels.
Scientists from the National Center for Biotechnology (CNB), part of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), are trying to develop an antiviral that could block the virus’ access into human cells.
CSIC explained that camelids produce a special type of antibody capable of recognizing the antigen with a single protein chain.
“This allows them to reach inaccessible regions on the surface of viruses and bacteria,” the council emphasized.
A scientific report that CSIC posted on May 19 explained that a team from the council seeks to produce nano antibodies that block the access of the SARS-CoV-2 into cells.
The antivirals should be able to reduce infection in patients with COVID-19, the report found.
The report explained that the team is generating a new collection of COVID-19-specific nano antibodies from samples of dromedaries that have been immunized against the novel coronavirus.
“The team is tracking a collection of more than a billion nanoantibodies built in their laboratory. The CSIC researchers, who work in collaboration with the Veterinary Faculty of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, hope to have the first candidates in three months,” the report explained.
“Pero hay una excepción a esta regla: los camélidos (dromedarios, llamas, alpacas) producen un tipo de anticuerpos especial capaces de reconocer al antígeno con una sola cadena de proteína. Esto les permite alcanzar regiones inaccesibles en la superficie de virus y bacterias”. pic.twitter.com/9feQ9DE47D
— CSIC (@CSIC) May 19, 2020
Luis Angel Fernandez, who heads the bacterial engineering group of the National Center for Biotechnology (CNB-CSIC), said: “Antibodies from humans and animals are made up of two different protein chains, which associate to create the antigen binding zone (virus or bacteria) and thus are able to block it and prevent its entry into cells.”
The council explained that its bacterial engineering group spent years working with nano antibodies in different projects.
The scientific report explained that the group started a project to isolate nano antibodies that block the entry of the virus into cells after the initial outbreak of COVID-19.
“Over the years, the bacterial engineering group has built a collection of over a billion nanoantibodies, which they are now tracking to locate those that may be useful against SARS-CoV-2,” the statement explained.