They recognize the Spike protein and are able to interfere in its interaction with the Ace2 receptor on the cells of the respiratory tract: human antibodies capable of inhibiting coronavirus infection have been generated in the laboratories of the Ceinge-Advanced Biotechnology of Naples by the researchers of the Covid-19 task force, a project funded by the Campania Region. An important milestone in Covid-19 diagnostics and therapy achieved, in particular, by the team led by Claudia De Lorenzo, full professor of Biochemistry at the Department of Molecular Medicine and Medical Biotechnology of the Federico II University and principal investigator of the Ceinge. they used an innovative technology, based on the selection of antibody fragments on Spike’s Rbd region by “competition” with the receptor (Ace2 in the specific case).
This methodology could allow in the future to isolate other “functional” antibodies, that is specific for certain regions of the molecular targets with key role in the pathology to be combated. The researchers also generated these antibodies with an isotype that does not induce inflammatory processes, and therefore should not cause unwanted side effects. The results were obtained on cell cultures in vitro and will then be confirmed and validated in vivo. The antibodies generated in the Ceinge laboratories, for which the patent application has been filed, also recognize the Spike protein of other coronaviruses and suggest their potential use in both the diagnostic and therapeutic fields.
“Our project within the Ceinge Covid-19 Task Force was aimed at generating new human antibodies useful for inhibiting the infection of the Sars-Cov-2 virus”, explains Claudia De Lorenzo. “For this purpose – he adds – we have chosen a specific region of the Spike protein, which we know is present on the viral coating and which is responsible for the interaction with the Ace2 receptor on the surface of the cells of our respiratory tract. Starting from vast repertoires of fragments human antibodies, with affinity selection techniques, we have identified antibodies able to specifically bind the Spike protein and some of them have been shown to inhibit the infection of human cell cultures of the Sars-Cov-2 virus and its English variant “.
The work was published by the journal Scientific Reports (Nature Group) and saw the collaboration of the research teams directed respectively by Massimo Zollo and Nicola Zambrano, professors of the Federico II University and Ceinge principal investigators, with the contribution of the Zooprophylactic Institute. experimental of the South. Two young researchers also worked on the project in Claudia De Lorenzo’s group: Margherita Passariello, research fellow, and Cinzia Vetrei, doctoral student, at the Federico II Department of Molecular Medicine and Medical Biotechnology.