Highly potent, unique antibody against Covid-19 variants discovered by Indian scientists

ICGEB New Delhi: Highly potent, unique antibody against COVID19 variants discovered

An antibody isolated from people in India who recovered from COVID-19 can broadly neutralise SARS-CoV-2 variants, including Omicron sub-lineages.

The ICGEB-Emory Group at ICGEB, New Delhi discovered a unique human monoclonal antibody that potently neutralises all key SARS-CoV-2 variants and sub-lineages of Omicron. This study was published in the October issue of the scientific journal Science Advances, and commented in Nature India.

We hear from Dr. Anmol Chandele, Group Leader, ICGEB-Emory program at ICGEB New Delhi:

Dr. Anmol Chandele, ICGEB-Emory Group Leader, ICGEB New Delhi, India

“The antibody (clone 002-S21F2) was isolated by baiting and single cell cloning of SARS-CoV-2 specific memory B cells from COVID-19 recovered individuals from India who experienced the ancestral WA.1 strain of the virus. They show that 002-S21F2 binds to an outer region of the RBD outside the ACE2 binding motif that is relatively conserved and locks the RBD in the ‘down conformation’ thus retaining its broad range of neutralisation. This is unlike many human monoclonals that blocked the interaction between SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain (RBD) and the human ACE2 receptor, and thus were unsuccessful as the virus mutated and / or evolved. 

The discovery of this broad and potent neutralising antibody opens avenues towards novel antibody-based therapeutics that can tackle the new Omicron sub-lineages. Also, the information of the precise epitope that the antibody binds to can be used towards universal vaccine design that results in immune responses that are resistant towards the ever-evolving SARS-Cov-2 virus. 

The type of studies my lab does are a bridge between basic & translational research, and for the most part, I think ICGEB may be one of the only institute’s in India that has strong human immunology capacity and expertise (and here, I am also counting other infectious disease biology labs). 

It manifests our capacity as an institute to find indigenous solutions. This perfectly aligns with ICGEB’s mandate – to use biotechnology in regions where it is needed, and matters the most.

Anomol Chandele, ICGEB Emory Group Leader, New Delhi, India

Lawrence Banks, ICGEB Director-General, and Vittorio Venturi, ICGEB Scientific Coordinator, expressed congratulations for the results of this great effort, which involved a broad collaboration with several labs in the US and in India.

Sanjeev Kumar, ICGEB-Emory Group, ICGEB New Delhi

Further reading:

Link to scientific paper: Kumar S, Patel A, Lai L, Chakravarthy C, Valanparambil R, Reddy ES, Gottimukkala K, Davis-Gardner ME, Edara VV, Linderman S, Nayak K, Dixit K, Sharma P, Bajpai P, Singh V, Frank F, Cheedarla N, Verkerke HP, Neish AS, Roback JD, Mantus G, Goel PK, Rahi M, Davis CW, Wrammert J, Godbole S, Henry AR, Douek DC, Suthar MS, Ahmed R, Ortlund E, Sharma A, Murali-Krishna K, Chandele A. Structural insights for neutralization of Omicron variants BA.1, BA.2, BA.4, and BA.5 by a broadly neutralizing SARS-CoV-2 antibody. Sci Adv. 2022 Oct 7;8(40):eadd2032. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.add2032. Epub 2022 Oct 5. PMID: 36197988

Nature India: Potent antibody kills SARS-CoV-2 variants

The Indian Express Highly potent unique antibody against Covid-19 variants discovered by Indian scientists