Scientists believe an antibody could soon help develop antiviral drugs and vaccines for the new and deadly Wuhan coronavirus, dubbed 2019-nCoV. Since the end of last year, the virus has killed 213 people, all in mainland China. The team of scientists in China looked at what are known as monoclonal antibodies which were created for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which like 2019-nCoV is a member of the large coronavirus family of pathogens. Antibodies are proteins which the immune system creates to remove foreign objects like viruses, known as antigens, from the body. The monoclonal kind are made in labs to mimic the body’s responses to antigens. The researchers found an antibody which bound to the surface of the 2019-nCoV and appeared to n eutralize it. The team also found several other antibodies which bound to and neutralized SARS, but not 2019-nCoV. That means it is still necessary to develop new monoclonal antibodies specifically for 2019-nCoV. The findings were published as a preprint on the website bioRxiv, meaning it has not been peer reviewed. Experts welcomed the findings but cautioned the antibody is not yet close to being harnessed against the new virus which is thought to have first started… Read full this story
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