Can antibodies neutralizing all strains of COVID-19 stop a pandemic?

December 2, 2021  11:42

Chinese scientists have recently discovered a monoclonal antibody 35B5, which neutralizes the alpha and delta strains of the coronavirus and, possibly, could become the basis for a new universal vaccine.

This antibody clings to an unchanged part of the virus, preventing damage to the human body.

However, many experts are skeptical about this discovery and argue that this antibody is unlikely to improve the epidemiological situation in the world, moreover, it is unlikely to help the treatment of COVID-19.

As noted by Ancha Baranova, professor at the School of Systems Biology at George Mason University (Virginia, USA), chief researcher at the Laboratory of Functional Genomics at the Medical Genomics Research Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences, even universal antibodies will not help in the fight against coronavirus, moreover, they may cause new strains resistant to them.

“The antibody was found before the omicron strain appeared, so it’s impossible to say that it helps against it. In addition, I believe that if we now begin to massively use antibodies in treatment, a new strain will emerge that is resistant to them,” said Baranova.

She added that the use of antibodies for treatment is not possible due to the high cost of their isolation. Thus, technologically, this discovery will not help in the real fight against COVID-19.

Virologist Anatoly Altstein, in turn, noted that he doubted that the discovery of Chinese scientists is so important.

However, it is possible that these antibodies can be used for the prevention of diseases, for example, in a family or kindergarten. If one child falls ill, then the whole group can be immunized: such antibodies can be in the body for about a month.

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