IrsiCaixa works on the development of antibodies that prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection with the support of the Gloria Soler Foundation. The molecules, designed and produced in the laboratory as part of the CBIG consortium, could help prevent and treat COVID-19
Despite the availability of different effective vaccines against COVID-19, we still need specific treatments against SARS-CoV-2 to cure or prevent the disease. This is why the Gloria Soler Foundation has decided to promote a project of the Virology and Cellular Immunology (VIC) group at IrsiCaixa, which aims to develop synthetic antibodies capable of blocking infection by SARS-CoV-2. These molecules, designed and produced in the laboratory as part of the CBIG consortium –formed by IrsiCaixa, the Barcelona Supercomputing Center and the Animal Health Research Centre IRTA-CReSA– would bind to the virus with high affinity and prevent its entry into cells. Thus, this treatment could be useful both to prevent infection and to treat people with COVID-19.
Fusing molecules to achieve more potent antibodies
In order to block SARS-CoV-2 more effectively, researchers have designed synthetic antibodies capable of recognising the virus spike protein in two different regions: the S1 and S2 subunits, achieving dual recognition.
To produce these complex molecules and ensure that their activity is optimal, researchers follow several steps. Firstly, the Barcelona Supercomputing Center improves the design of the synthetic antibodies to increase their activity. Secondly, IrsiCaixa produces the antibodies in its laboratories. And finally, both IrsiCaixa and IRTA-CReSA test these antibodies in animal models.
A useful treatment against current and future variants of coronaviruses
As these synthetic antibodies act by preventing infection, they could act as a prophylactic treatment but also as a drug to stop viral replication and modulate the inflammatory response in patients who are already infected.
Currently, in order to keep the pandemic under control, both naturally produced and synthetic antibodies need to be able to protect the population against new variants. In this sense, IrsiCaixa is continuously and exhaustively evaluating the efficacy of these antibodies against the new variants of SARS-CoV-2 that are appearing.
Project coordinated by Julià Blanco (PhD in Biochemistry, University of Barcelona (UB), 1994). From 1994 he leads the Cell Virology and Immunology (VIC) group at IrsiCaixa.
News on the IrsiCaixa website
Visit the news published by IrsiCaixa about the Glòria Soler Foundation’s collaboration with this project.Link