(STUDY FINDS) -- LA JOLLA, Calif. — “Antibodies” is among the hottest buzzwords in the hunt for an effective treatment or vaccine for COVID-19. So, it’s no surprise that these tiny Y-shaped molecules are the focus on some of the largest collaborative research efforts. Recently, a team of more than 30 scientists from Scripps Research identified a series of potent virus-blocking antibodies, known as neutralizing antibodies (nAbs), in the blood of recovered COVID-19 patients. These nAbs are now being produced for clinical trials to test their potential as a treatment or preventative against SARS-CoV-2 infection.
The project, led by the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, both at Scripps, involved the concurrent design and execution of a complex series of experiments across laboratories. Researchers recruited a cohort of naturally-infected individuals who had recovered from COVID-19 for the study. In less than seven weeks, they collected blood samples, developed functional assays to rapidly screen and sort antibodies from these samples, and set up cell and animal models to evaluate the antibodies for protection against SARS-CoV-2.