A group of scientists has identified synthetic mini-antibodies to stop Covid-19 from entering the human cell. For this, scientists at EMBL Hamburg carried out the screening of thousands of synthetic mini-antibodies called sybodies to come to this effective conclusion.
It is found that SARS-CoV-2 infection with the human cells is dependent on the interactions between the viral spike protein and the human cell surface protein, ACE2. When the spike protein binds ACE2 with the three finger-like protrusions, known as receptor-binding domains (RBDs), the virus infects the human cell.
For the Covid-19 virus to stop interacting with the human cells, it is crucial to block the RBDs. It is only possible by making the use of antibodies. Nanobodies, small antibodies present in camels and IIames offer favorable results to block the RBDs due to their small size and high stability.
Extracting these antibodies from animals takes a lot of time but the process can be speeded up with the use of technological advancement. This way, one can easily select synthetic nanobodies, known as sybodies. One such technology platform for the selection of sybodies from synthetic libraries was recently developed in the lab of Markus Seeger at the University of Zurich and it was used in this study at EMBL Hamburg.