Scientists have created an antibody that can defeat the novel coronavirus in the lab. This monoclonal antibody is seen as an early step towards defeating COVID-19 and curbing its spread.

A study published on Monday by Journal Communications revealed that the experimental antibody was able to neutralize the coronavirus in cell cultures, suggesting that it has the potential to treat COVID-19 and other related diseases. After using genetically modified mice to produce different antibodies to the spike proteins of coronaviruses, the scientists found that the antibody was potent enough to target exactly one site on the coronavirus. It remains to be seen, however, whether the antibody can do it alone or has to be combined with other drugs.

Called 47D11, the antibody is still in the early stage of development, which means several tests still have to be done to prove that it can treat coronavirus-related diseases. During the lab tests, the antibody managed to kill the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19 and its cousin, the coronavirus that causes SARS. If everything goes according to plan, it will be tested on animals and then be subjected to human trials.

According to Berend-Jan Boasch of Utrecht University, 47D11 particularly targets the spoke protein that allows the novel coronavirus to take on a crown-like shape and invade human cells. The antibody resembles the naturally occurring versions of antibodies produced by the human body to fight off bacteria and viruses.

 “Monoclonal antibodies targeting vulnerable sites on viral surface proteins are increasingly recognized as a promising class of drugs against infectious diseases and have shown therapeutic efficacy for a number of viruses,” wrote the researchers.  

Monoclonal antibodies are not new to the fight against infectious diseases. Previously, these monoclonal antibodies already paved the way for a cancer treatment revolution. The same antibodies also showed promising results when tested against Ebola. Today, companies such as Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. are already working towards using these antibodies to develop a possible treatment for coronavirus.

Coronavirus COVID-19 Laboratory Test, Cure, Vaccine Andressa Parreiras, Biomedic, and Larissa Vuitika, biologist, work in a laboratory during the extraction of the virus genetic material on March 24, 2020 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The Ministry of Health convened The Technological Vaccine Center of the Federal University of Minas Gerais laboratory to conduct research on the coronavirus (COVID-19) in order to diagnose, test and develop a vaccine. According to the Ministry of Health, as of Tuesday, March 24, Brazil has 1.891 confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and at least 34 recorded deceases. Pedro Vilela/Getty Images