Covid-19: How could sharks neutralize the pandemic?

Antibodies present in sharks effective against Covid – 000

These researchers discovered the presence of antibodies in sharks which could neutralize SARS -COV-2 in human cells. They then studied about a billion different antibodies in sharks in order to find effective proteins against the coronavirus and its variants . One of them, called 3B4, has been shown to be the most promising against SARS-CoV-2 and in particular against the Delta variant. “Structural and biochemical data suggest that VNARs would be effective therapeutic agents against emerging mutants of SARS-CoV-2, including the Delta variant, and coronaviruses in several lineages phylogenetics ”, say the researchers.

But why sharks?

To understand correctly, it is necessary to know that the protein 3B4, is part of a type of protein, called VNARs for “Variable New Antigen Receptors”. The peculiarity is its size : about a tenth of that of a human antibody. The immune system of sharks harbors the smallest antibodies among all vertebrates. And thanks to this tiny size, the VNARs target areas inaccessible to the antibodies present in humans, which are much larger. x.

Faced with these promising results , the researchers wish develop treatments based on VNARs to fight against the next potentials coronavirus pandemics. “The biggest problem is the number of coronaviruses that are at risk of infecting humans. We are therefore preparing an arsenal of drugs based on shark VNARs that we can use to fight future SARS pandemics. It’s a kind of insurance for the future, ”, Aaron Lebeau, lead author of the study, explains in the University of Winconsin-Madison journal.

We then hope that these scientific advances will be able, once and for all, to put an end to this global pandemic which has already lasted far too long.

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