KAIST Develops Universal Coronavirus Neutralizing Antibody
KAIST announced on the 4th of February 2022 that a research team led by Professor Oh Byung-ha of the Department of Life Sciences has developed a computational antibody design and applied it to develop a neutralizing antibody that exhibits excellent effects on all current COVID-19 strains, including Omicron. A “neutralizing antibody” refers to a therapeutic antibody that neutralizes the biochemical effects of pathogens infiltrating the body to defend cells.
In the meantime, researchers from leading pharmaceutical companies in the world have developed neutralizing antibodies such as Etesevimab and Bamlanivimab that bind to receptor binding sites, but these antibodies do not have the neutralizing ability or reported to fall.
According to KAIST, Professor Oh Byung-ha's research team developed an antibody that strongly binds to a non-mutated portion of a viral antigen using a computational protein design method.
It also showed strong binding to SARS-CoV-1 and pangolin coronavirus as well as all known SARS-CoV-2 mutated viruses including Omicron and confirmed excellent neutralizing ability indicators.
Therefore, it is expected as a candidate for a general-purpose coronavirus treatment antibody that can respond to a new severe respiratory syndrome-causing coronavirus that may appear in the future.
In addition, the computational antibody design technology developed this time is a new method for discovering antibodies that bind to a specific site on an antigen and has wide applicability and high technical value.
Professor Oh Byeong-ha said, "The antibody developed this time is of great significance because it binds to a surface whose amino acid sequence hardly changes, so it can be a therapeutic material that can immediately respond to new and variant coronaviruses that may emerge in the future." The computational antibody design method developed through research is expected to be widely used to develop antibodies that are difficult to obtain experimentally.”
The results of this research, in which the KAIST Life Science Department Ph.D. program participated as the first author, were published in 'mAbs', an antibody specialized journal. The research team of Professor Hyun-soo Cho of Yonsei University and the research team of Dr. Gyun-do Kim of the Korea Research Institute of Chemistry also participated. (Related paper title: Computational design of a neutralizing antibody with picomolar binding affinity for all concerning SARS-CoV-2 variants)
Meanwhile, this research was carried out with support from the KAIST Corona Response Science and Technology New Deal Project and the Basic Science Lab Project of the Korea Science Foundation.
Source: Korea News 24 (February 4, 2022)