SP1-77: Finding a Solution
COVID-19 has affected many of our lives over the past two years. We have seen several phases of vaccinations, from a single vaccine to three boosters. In the hopes of finding a final solution and cure for COVID-19, researchers have recently discovered an antibody that they believe could neutralize all of the known COVID-19 variants. This antibody is called SP1-77 and resulted from a collaborative effort of Boston Children’s Hospital and Duke University researchers.
Researchers initially created this antibody after modifying a mouse model that was made to search for broadly neutralizing antibodies to HIV. In this study, the mice used have built-in human immune systems that replicate how human immune systems develop antibodies when exposed to a pathogen. After the researchers inserted two human gene segments into the mice, it resulted in a wide range of antibodies being created. The researchers then proceeded to expose the mice to SARs-CoV-2’s spike protein, which is what makes the COVID-19 virus connect with human cells. These antibodies were then tested.
One antibody, SP1-77, was able to neutralize all the circulating COVID-19 variants. Researcher Tomas Kirchhausen, Ph.D., explained in a statement for the online health journal Prevention that, “SP1-77 binds the spike protein at a site that so far has not been mutated in any variant, and it neutralizes these variants by a novel mechanism, these properties may contribute to its broad and potent activity.”
Their results from these studies have been published in the journal Science Immunology, and even though the research is just beginning, scientists seem to have high hopes for a cure. Experts expressed to the E-Journal Prevention that, “Such work, if replicated and expanded, could form the basis of new monoclonal antibody products as well as the vaccine.” This could mean that just one shot could potentially cause immunity from the COVID-19 virus – possibly ending the era of a new booster needed every few months.
This also could have a significant impact on how this virus continues to affect our lives and everyday activities, as well as welcoming a safer and more free approach towards closer human interaction for many. Only time will tell how effective SP1-77 will be in finding a cure those in the scientific community have been searching for since 2020.