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2 Feb, 2022 16:37

Antibody treatment could neutralize Omicron, researchers claim

A new treatment could potentially put humans “a step ahead” in the race against the pandemic
Antibody treatment could neutralize Omicron, researchers claim

A research team in China has developed a new antibody that they say could neutralize the Omicron strain of Covid, after synthesizing components of two antibodies produced by human immune cells.

While independent, these antibodies were ineffective against Omicron – but the synthesized version managed to neutralize the Covid strain, according to researchers from Fudan University in Shanghai.

Describing it as a surprise discovery that was developed with “God’s grace,” the researchers stated that the new treatment could put humans “a step ahead in the race” against the coronavirus.

The researchers, led by Professor Huang Jinghe and working at the National Clinical Research Center for Respiratory Disease in Guangzhou, developed eight antibodies in a short period of time by synthesizing the normally human-produced immune cells.

The team expressed shock at their success, as the technology they used was not intended to be deployed against Omicron but for addressing another infectious disease, although Jinghe didn’t specify what other virus the researchers were investigating.

Bispecific antibodies are able to neutralize earlier strains of the virus, such as Delta, as well as tackling Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, limiting the ability of the virus to spread.

The team outlined their work and findings in a paper titled ‘Combating the Sars-CoV-2 Omicron variant with non-Omicron neutralizing antibodies’. The research has not yet been peer reviewed. 

The Chinese scientists hope that the new approach to fighting the pandemic will help health officials “cope with shifting events by sticking to the basics.” With this method of producing a man-made antibody, the researchers suggest that “mass production will not be a problem.”