Scientists from the American Scripps Research Institute have discovered ‘pan-coronavirus’ antibodies in macaques, “effective against many different variants of Sars-CoV-2”, but also “against other Sars viruses such as Sars-CoV-1, the highly lethal pathogen responsible of the 2003 epidemic “. The study, published in ‘Science Translational Medicine’, indicates that “some animals are surprisingly more capable of producing this type of anti-‘pan-Sars virus’ antibodies than humans,” offering researchers “clues as to how to develop better vaccines” . “If we can design vaccines that elicit broad” immune “responses, similar to those seen” in the new work, “they could provide greater protection against the” Covid-19 “virus and variants of concern,” says the author. senior Raiees Andrabi, researcher in the Scripps Department of Immunology and Microbiology. The ‘wildcard’ antibodies identified in the study recognize a relatively more conserved portion of the viral Spike protein, which is present in many different Sars viruses and less prone to mutating over time. An element that the authors believe is useful for the development of “next generation vaccines”, which are “capable of offering additional protection against emerging variants of Sars-CoV-2 and against other Sars viruses”. In the study macaque monkeys. rhesus were immunized with Sars-CoV-2’s Spike protein, the ‘hook’ the virus uses to latch onto and infect target cells. Two doses were administered, according to a strategy similar to that adopted with mRna anti-Covid vaccines. Unlike in humans after administration of these products, macaques were found to develop a broad neutralizing antibody response against the virus, including variants such as Omicron. Intrigued by this clear difference, the scientists decided to investigate the structure of macaques’ super antibodies, discovering that they recognize a different Spike region than the one most human antibodies target: a more conserved area, in fact, located more laterally on the edge of the binding point between Spike and the Ace2 receptor of our cells. It is an “important area, common to most Sars viruses, and which so far has only rarely been the target of human antibodies”, highlights the co- senior study author Ian Wilson, head of the Scripps Department of Integrated Structural and Computational Biology, who suggests investigating “additional strategies to be exploited to get our immune system to recognize this particular region of the virus.” which codes for these super neutralizing anti-Sars antibodies – the authors also remark – is Ighv3-73, different from the Ighv3-53 gene which re Throat the human immune response, which is potent, but with a much narrower spectrum. Researchers believe this could help design vaccines, or vaccine-adjuvant combinations, that induce wider protection against SARS-CoV-2 and its many variants. “According to senior co-author Dennis Burton, head of the Scripps Department of Immunology and Microbiology, our study shows that macaques have an antibody gene that offers them greater protection against SARS viruses. This observation sets a new focus on our vaccine efforts, which we may be able to target using advanced protein design approaches. “
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