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Affinity discovers potent SARS-CoV-2 antibodies
Affinity Biosciences antibody binding to the SARS-CoV-2 virus spike protein
Melbourne-based Affinity Biosciences Pty Ltd (Affinity), a privately held company focused on antibody discovery for cancer therapeutics, announced the discovery of potent antibodies with therapeutic potential against COVID-19..
In March, Affinity commenced screening its proprietary library of one hundred billion human antibodies to discover those that might neutralise SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. After discovering a number of candidate antibodies that block the virus spike protein from binding to its human receptor, Affinity engaged The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity (Doherty Institute) in April to conduct testing using the virus in the laboratory. The Doherty Institute has confirmed that Affinity's antibodies can completely neutralise the infectivity of SARS-CoV-2 at a single digit microgram/ml concentration in a five-day virus neutralisation assay. The antibodies have high affinity for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein at around 20 picomolar, driven by an exceptionally slow off-rate, a measure of how long the antibody remains bound to its target.
"Our antibodies latch onto the virus spike protein and block its activity," said Affinity CEO, Dr Peter Smith. "These antibodies may be protective in humans by preventing the virus from gaining a foothold in healthy people exposed to the virus, and may be useful in arresting the progress of the virus in an infected person by blocking its ability to infect new cells and replicate."
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