Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh have reportedly isolated a biomolecule that neutralizes the coronavirus, according to a Monday report.
The molecule, which is a component of an antibody, is the smallest one known to date that “completely and specifically” targets the virus that causes a coronavirus infection, a report published in the journal Cell said according to KDKA News. A full-sized antibody is 10 times bigger than the isolated molecule, according to the report. (RELATED: AstraZeneca Is Pausing Studies On Their Coronavirus Vaccine After Individual Experienced Severe Symptoms)
— KDKA (@KDKA) September 14, 2020
A new drug, called Ab8, has been created using the biomolecule. Scientists hope that the new drug can be used for both treatment and prevention of coronavirus, saying that it has been “highly effective” at both treatment and prevention of the virus in mice and hamsters.
“Ab8 not only has potential as therapy for COVID-19, but it also could be used to keep people from getting SARS-CoV-2 infections,” the report’s co-author, John Mellors M.D., said in a press release. Mellors is also the chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
“Antibodies of larger size have worked against other infectious diseases and have been well-tolerated, giving us hope that it could be an effective treatment for patients with COVID-19 and for protection of those who have never had the infection and are not immune,” Mellors added.
Scientists were able to find the molecule by “fishing” with a coronavirus molecule in a pool of over 100 billion potential candidates, the press release said.
The report comes as countries are racing to try and find a coronavirus vaccine. President Donald Trump has said that the United States could have a vaccine by October.