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Vanderbilt: Researchers discover 'ultra-potent' antibody against COVID & variants

WZTV - Nashville logo WZTV - Nashville 9/22/2021 Kaylin Jorge
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Vanderbilt University Medical Center  says technology it developed has led to the discovery of an “ultra-potent” monoclonal antibody against COVID-19 and variants, including delta.

VUMC made the announcement Wednesday, saying the antibody can neutralize against SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind COVID-19.  The research was published in "Cell Reports" earlier this month. 

Researchers explain the technology behind the discovery is called LIBRA-seq, or Linking B-cell Receptor to Antigen Specificity through sequencing.  It helped speed up the discovery.

“This is one way to proactively build a repertoire of potential therapeutics” against future outbreaks, said Ivelin Georgiev, PhD, director of the Vanderbilt Program in Computational Microbiology and Immunology and associate director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Infection, Immunology and Inflammation.  “The pathogens keep evolving, and we’re basically playing catch-up."

Georgiev says this antibody has "uncommon genetic and structural characteristics" that are different from other antibodies used to treat COVID-19. The thought is that SARS-CoV-2 will be less likely to mutate to escape an antibody it hasn’t “seen” before.

LIBRA-seq was developed by 2019 by  Ian Setliff, PhD, a former graduate student in Georgiev’s lab who now works in the biotechnology industry, and by Andrea Shiakolas, a current Vanderbilt graduate student.

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