Scientists have detected an antibody that blocks the coronavirus from entering cells, providing a much-needed shield for severely ill patients. While not a cure or vaccine, it is still a significant development.
“This is clearly a breakthrough that shows that we are on the right track for the development of a drug against Covid-19,” said virologist Professor Luka Cicin-Sain.
“In repeated experiments, we were able to show that this result is sustainable.”
Cicin-Sain and his team analyzed 6,000 different human antibodies and found more than 750 that dock with the coronavirus and prevent it from spreading further in already infected patients. The antibodies are currently undergoing additional testing on cell cultures to whittle their number down to find the most effective at blocking the infection. To be clear, the researchers are neither producing a vaccine nor a cure, but instead a potentially highly effective treatment for severely ill coronavirus patients which operates on the principle of “so-called passive immunization,”
according to Stefan Dübel from the Technical University of Braunschweig, , who added that “The effect is immediate: the antibodies take the potential away from the virus.”