SEATTLE — It might be a breakthrough.
Researchers say that an antibody called S309, taken from a person who recovered from SARS 17 years ago, neutralized COVID-19 in a lab.
"We believe this is a significant finding," said David Veesler of the University of Washington School of Medicine, who is among the senior authors in a report published on Monday in the journal Nature.
Our bodies produce antibodies that bind onto and neutralize pathogens.
Researchers are trying to find the best antibodies to attack COVID-19, so they can develop a treatment for people who are infected, or a preventive medicine for those who are high-risk.
"To give the antibody to people before they're infected, for instance, health care workers," Veesler said.
Many scientists are looking for antibodies from COVID-19 patients.
Veesler's group is among the first to look for effective antibodies from a SARS patient infected in the 2002-03 outbreak, which is harder, because it's a different virus.
"It's really looking for a needle in a haystack," Veesler said.
And, they found it.
Now, Vir Biotechnology in California is fast-tracking the development and testing of therapies made with S309.
The next step is to try it on people, and there's hope because the antibody came from a person.
"It is very exciting," Veesler said.
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