Scientists have found the smallest protein compound that neutralizes the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The study is published in the journal Cell.
Experts at the University of Pittsburgh in the United States conducted a rapid analysis of one hundred billion potential molecules that can bind to the coronavirus S-protein involved in infection with the pathogen. As a result, the scientists found a protein compound ten times smaller than a full-size antibody, which, merging with part of the immunoglobulin, forms the Ab8 drug and acquires the functions of a full-size antibody.
Further experiments showed that even the lowest doses of Ab8 significantly reduced the number of viral particles in laboratory animals infected with the coronavirus. Scientists note that the small size of the molecule increases its ability to diffuse in tissues, helps to neutralize the virus better, and also allows the drug to be administered by inhalation.
Also, the researchers concluded that the drug does not bind to human cells, which minimizes negative side effects.