Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco have invented a nasal spray to administer synthetic antibodies, which they believe will help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
A team led by graduate student Michael Schoof engineered synthetic molecules that “narrow down important SARS-CoV-2 machinery that allows the virus to infect our cells,” according to a report on the university website.
A letter posted on bioRxiv default server says experiments using live virus show that the molecule is among the most powerful COVID-19 antivirals yet discovered.
While it is not a traditional vaccine, researchers believe that a daily spray of synthetic antibodies, called “AeroNabs”;, from a nasal spray or inhaler can provide protection from the deadly bug until a vaccine becomes available, according to ABC 7 News.
“Because it’s so durable, we can basically put in one of these, it’s a bit nebulizer,” said Dr. camels and similar animals, called a nanobode.
They are smaller than human antibodies and can be manipulated to perform specific tasks. Like joining peak proteins to the coronavirus.
“Effectively it’s effectively a really effective tape. It binds to one of these peak proteins and never lets go,” Manglik said.
The researchers penetrated through about 2 billion synthetic nanofibers before finding the best candidate, for whom they redefined to be even more powerful, media reported.
Knowing the coronavirus uses its spikes to join in addition to the lung cell called an Ace2 receptor, they worked to stop the invasion in its tracks.
When AeroNabs binds to the peak protein, the virus cannot bind to the receptor and consequently loses its ability to infect cells, ABC 7 News reported.
“Much more effective than forms of personal protective equipment, we think of AeroNabs as a molecular form of PPE that can serve as an important stop until vaccines provide a more permanent solution to COVID-19,” he said. AeroNabs inventor Peter Walter, professor of biochemistry and biophysics at UCSF.
For people who do not have access to or respond to coronavirus vaccines, Walter added, AeroNabs may be a more permanent line of defense against the disease.
Manglik, who frequently uses nanobodes in his research on the structure and function of proteins, said: “Although they function much like the antibodies found in the human immune system, nanobodes offer a number of unique advantages for effective therapy against SARS-CoV-2. “
The UCSF team is in discussions with potential partners to increase production for clinical trials.
If successful, the researchers aim to make AeroNabs widely available as a free or untreated preventive measure against coronavirus.