Scientists in Sweden have identified a nanobody that could prevent the SARS-CoV-2 virus from infiltrating human cells. The Karolinska Institutet researchers believe the discovery could result in the development of a game changing antiviral treatment against the virus. And with nanobody treatments cheaper to produce at scale than typical antibodies, this would also help facilitate fast roll out.
“We hope our findings can contribute to the amelioration of the COVID-19 pandemic by encouraging further examination of this nanobody as a therapeutic candidate against this viral infection,” explained Gerald McInerney, associate professor of virology at the Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology at Karolinska Institutet.
The test results, published in the journal Nature Communications, reveal the Ty1 nanobody as having the power to block the virus entering human cells.
“Our results show that Ty1 can bind potently to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and neutralise the virus, with no detectable off-target activity,” added Ben Murrell, assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology. “We are now embarking on preclinical animal studies to investigate the neutralising activity and therapeutic potential of Ty1 in vivo.”
The ongoing research is being funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.