Research Article

Broad and potent activity against SARS-like viruses by an engineered human monoclonal antibody

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Science  19 Feb 2021:
Vol. 371, Issue 6531, pp. 823-829
DOI: 10.1126/science.abf4830

Targeting sarbecoviruses

As we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, we must confront the possibility of new pathogenic coronaviruses emerging in humans in the future. With this in mind, Rappazzo et al. isolated antibodies from a survivor of the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), used yeast display libraries to introduce diversity into these antibodies, and then screened for binding to SARS-CoV-2. One of the affinity-matured progeny strongly neutralized SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV, and two SARS-related viruses from bats. In addition, this antibody bound to the receptor-binding domains from a panel of sarbecoviruses, suggesting broader activity, and provided protection against SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 in mouse models.

Science, this issue p. 823

Abstract

The recurrent zoonotic spillover of coronaviruses (CoVs) into the human population underscores the need for broadly active countermeasures. We employed a directed evolution approach to engineer three severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) antibodies for enhanced neutralization breadth and potency. One of the affinity-matured variants, ADG-2, displays strong binding activity to a large panel of sarbecovirus receptor binding domains and neutralizes representative epidemic sarbecoviruses with high potency. Structural and biochemical studies demonstrate that ADG-2 employs a distinct angle of approach to recognize a highly conserved epitope that overlaps the receptor binding site. In immunocompetent mouse models of SARS and COVID-19, prophylactic administration of ADG-2 provided complete protection against respiratory burden, viral replication in the lungs, and lung pathology. Altogether, ADG-2 represents a promising broad-spectrum therapeutic candidate against clade 1 sarbecoviruses.

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