Medical experts and scientists are working hard to develop the vaccine needed to stop the novel coronavirus pandemic currently gripping the world. According to a report on Fox News, scientists are currently trying to understand how they can use antibodies to develop a vaccine that can effectively stop the coronavirus which has killed more than 24,737 people in the United States and affected over 2 million people globally.

Scientist Linqi Zhang shows a tube with a solution containing COVID-19 antibodies in his lab where he works on research into novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) antibodies for possible use in a drug
(Photo : REUTERS/Thomas Peter)
Scientist Linqi Zhang shows a tube with a solution containing COVID-19 antibodies in his lab where he works on research into novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) antibodies for possible use in a drug at Tsinghua University's Research Center for Public Health in Beijing, China, March 30, 2020.

According to Fox News, researchers from the Scripps Institue in California conducted a study that observed how the antibody points could be used as a vaccine for the infectious virus. The study was recently published by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health on April 3.

Antibody points can be the answer to COVID-19 vaccine experts say 

According to the NIH Director's Blog, the scientists who conducted the said study created a map that highlights another characteristic of human antibodies that can be used to create the vaccine for the coronavirus. They used high-resolution X-ray crystallography tools to develop the image, capturing the atomic structure of the antibody. 

The image of the developed map shows the structure of a human antibody: light chain in yellow and heavy chain in orange. The mentioned chains are the blood protein that the human immune system produces to protect the physical body from the attack of foreign elements and viruses. 

The group of scientists found a particular antibody called "CR3022," which could be the key surface protein of the novel coronavirus.

The study clarified that the CR3022 antibody wasn't produced by a person's body who recovered from coronavirus infection. Scientists reiterated that the said antibody is obtained by a person who survived a severe respiratory syndrome (SARS) nearly two decades ago. The SARS disease, which disappeared in 2004, is a close relative of the SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes COVID-19. 

The studies of the previous researchers showed that CR3022 cross-reacts with the coronavirus, although its structure is not tightly bound enough to neutralize the coronavirus and stopping it from infecting other cells.

The study highlighted the antibody called ACE2 which is bound to a spike protein that is attached to both the novel coronavirus and SARS, which allows them to latch on the key receptor protein produced by human cells that can be found on the cell's surface. This activity inside the human body provides the first step for the coronavirus to enter human cells and successfully infect them. 

However, CR3022 binds to the spike protein of the coronavirus differently compared to ACE2. The study showed that CR3022 attaches to a spot on the novel coronavirus which is usually hidden unless the virus shapeshifts its form to contaminate a cell. 

The results of the study suggest that a successful vaccine can be developed with the help of CR3022 to target the same spot of the coronavirus, stopping it from infecting human cells. The scientists are still working on the study by gathering blood samples from patients who have recovered from COVID-19.  

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