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Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco have created a nasal spray to give patients artificial antibodies, which are believed to help stop the spread of the emerging coronavirus.
A team led by graduate student at the university, Michael Schof, has engineered the artificial molecule that “restricts the crucial SARS-CoV-2 mechanism that allows the virus to infect our cells,” according to a report on the university’s website.
As a paper published on bioRxiv notes, experiments with the live virus show that the molecule is among the most powerful antivirals against Covid-19 that have been discovered so far.
Although it is not a conventional vaccine, researchers believe that spraying a single daily dose of synthetic antibodies, called AeroNabs, from a nasal spray or inhaler can provide protection from deadly germs until a vaccine is available, according to the ABC. 7 News.
For his part, Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University, Dr. Ashish Manglik, said: “Because it is very stable, we can put it in one of these devices, which are small inhalers,” adding that “spray agents belong to a small molecule that was first discovered in camels and animals. Similar, it is called a nanobody.
Manglik also explained that it is “smaller than human antibodies, and can be manipulated to perform specific tasks, such as attaching itself to spike proteins found on the Corona virus.” He continued, “It binds to one of these spiny proteins and never leaves it.”
Researchers examined nearly 2 billion artificial nanobodies before finding the best candidate, which they redesigned to be more robust, according to ABC 7 News.