Scientists at Chang Gung University (CGU) in Taiwan have discovered an antibody that works on all four strains of the novel coronavirus and reduces its potency by 90 to 98%.

The team of researchers in Taiwan had been working for months to identify an antibody against the novel coronavirus that causes coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and has affected more than 5 million people across the world.

The identified antibody is among the 25 antibodies identified in early April by a joint team of researchers at the Oxford University, Academia Sinica and the National Defense Medical Center. The team identified 25 strains of monoclonal antibodies in three patients infected with COVID-19.

The researchers had then predicted that one of the identified monoclonal antibodies can inhibit the coronavirus from entering host human cells, possibly leading to the formulation of treatment against COVID-19.

However, it was on Thursday, May 28, that the director of the CGU Research Center for Emerging Viral Infections confirmed that the identified antibody indeed blocked the entry of coronavirus in human cells in lab experiments. The inhibition capability of the antibody varied from 90 to 98%.

The same antibody has also been reported to work on all four strains of the virus, that is, the Wuhan, American, European, and Egyptian strains of COVID-19. Thus, the early findings suggest that it could be an ideal candidate for COVID-19 drug research and development.

Moreover, antibodies are safer than traditional chemical-based drugs as the former occurs naturally in the human body. These form a highly specialized natural defense system in humans that can identify pathogens and expedite a reaction to block their entry and eliminate from the host.

The research team is likely to transfer the technology to private companies in June to expedite further testing. If found suitable and safe like lab experiments, the production can be ramped up and make it commercially available by the end of the year.

Coronavirus pandemic has so far claimed the lives of over 360,000 people globally. The U.S. and Brazil are the two top worst-affected countries, following by Russia, Spain, Italy and the U.K.

COVID-19 Coronavirus is spreading worldwide and countries are doing their best to flatten the curve. Photo by: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay