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The COVID-19 pandemic in Poland and the world. Shark antibodies can fight SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses

The COVID-19 pandemic in Poland and the world.  Shark antibodies can fight SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses

This could be another opportunity to combat coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2. These are proteins found in the shark’s body called VNARs. They are very small, so they ‘end up in nooks and crannies that human antibodies cannot reach,’ explained Professor Aaron Lebow, a research associate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

VNARs stand for variable new antigen receptor. Such unique antibodies are found in shark organisms. According to the latest research, they can neutralize SARS-CoV-2 and its variants and other coronaviruses, scientists say in the journal Nature Communications. This could turn these proteins into a new way to fight pathogens in the future.

– The problem is that many corona viruses can spread to humans – explained the professor. Aaron Lebow of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. We are developing an arsenal of drugs based on shark VNARs that can be used in case of future infections. He added that it was a kind of insurance for the future.

VNARs From Sharks – How They Work Against Coronaviruses

Proteins about 1/10 the size of a human antibody can bind to bacteria in unique ways. “These little proteins find their way into nooks and crannies that human antibodies can’t reach.” They can take unusual shapes. This allows them to recognize structures in proteins that are missing in human antibodies – explained the professor. lipo.

In one experiment, such a protein neutralized WIV1-CoV – a coronavirus found in the bodies of bats that is capable of infecting humans. In contrast, in a group of synthetic VNARs created by the Scottish biopharmaceutical company Elasmogen, the researchers found three SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing proteins. The same proteins were also effective against the virus that caused SARS in 2003. One of these antibodies strongly binds to the notch in the viral spiky protein near the junction with human cells. It appears that this connection is being blocked.

The described cavity in different coronaviruses, including MERS, is genetically similar. It is unchanged in various SARS-CoV-2 variants, including the delta variant.

Potential therapeutic molecules against SARS-CoV-2 infection

Another shark protein also affects the spike protein, causing its inactivation, that is, a loss of activity or properties that are harmful to our health. In this case, however, the binding site changes with the different SARS-CoV-2 variants, and so the antibody may be less effective.

“Excitingly, these new molecules, potentially therapeutic for SARS-CoV-2 infection, differ in their mechanism of action compared to other biological materials and antibodies against the virus,” said Caroline Barrell, president of Elasmogen.

According to the researchers, potential future treatments are likely to take the form of a mixture of different shark proteins, increasing their effectiveness. Another advantage of these molecules is that they are less expensive and easier to obtain than human antibodies. It can be administered to the body in different ways.

Its application may be broader. Scientists are already studying the potential of shark proteins in diagnosing and treating cancer.

As experts emphasize, any therapeutic use of molecules can be discussed only after they have been subjected to clinical tests.

Main image source: stock struggle

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