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Versatile and multivalent nanobodies efficiently neutralize SARS-CoV-2

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Science  05 Nov 2020:
eabe4747
DOI: 10.1126/science.abe4747

Abstract

Cost-effective, efficacious therapeutics are urgently needed against the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, we used camelid immunization and proteomics to identify a large repertoire of highly potent neutralizing nanobodies (Nbs) to the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein receptor-binding domain (RBD). We discovered Nbs with picomolar to femtomolar affinities that inhibit viral infection at sub-ng/ml concentration and determined a structure of one of the most potent in complex with RBD. Structural proteomics and integrative modeling revealed multiple distinct and non-overlapping epitopes and indicated an array of potential neutralization mechanisms. We constructed multivalent Nb constructs that achieved ultrahigh neutralization potency (IC50s as low as 0.058 ng/ml) and may prevent mutational escape. These thermostable Nbs can be rapidly produced in bulk from microbes and resist lyophilization, and aerosolization.

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