Scientists Map Antibody Binding Sites on Virus Spike

(Reuters) – A new COVID-19 “antibody map” is helping researchers identify antibodies that will be able to neutralize the coronavirus even after it mutates, according to a report published in Science.

Using hundreds of antibodies collected from COVID-19 survivors around the world, a global research team mapped out exactly where each antibody attaches to the spike protein on the virus.

The researchers looked for – and found – antibodies that target sites on the spike that are so important for the viral life cycle that the virus probably could not function without them. Those sites are likely to remain targets for vaccines or treatments even when the virus mutates.

“If you are making an antibody cocktail, you’d want at least one of those antibodies in there because they are probably going to maintain their efficacy against most variants,” said coauthor Kathryn Hastie of the La Jolla Institute for Immunology in California, in a news release.

Her team, known as the Coronavirus Immunotherapeutic Consortium, has made the map and a color-coded library of antibodies available in public databases so other scientists can access the data.

SOURCE: Science, online September 23, 2021.

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