Cape Town, South Africa. Independent tests by a leading UK university have confirmed that antibodies produced by South African biotech company, Afrobodies, can stop the Covid-19 virus from infecting human cells.
The antibodies were developed using alpacas, whose unique immune system can produce antibodies that are robust and effective virus blockers. The Afrobodies scientific team specifically targeted the Spike 1 protein of SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes the Covid-19 disease. The Spike 1 protein enables the virus to attach to human cells leading to the viral infection.
Scientists at the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research (CVR) added the alpaca antibodies to human cells in the laboratory, along with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. They observed that with the addition of the Afrobodies antibodies, the human cells were protected from Covid-19 infection and stayed alive.
Afrobodies Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Peter Durcan, says these results are the culmination of a three-month Covid-19 project to develop these specialised antibodies. He commented:
“Thanks to our star alpaca, Falkor, who produced these antibodies for us, we hope to contribute in a meaningful way to the fight against Covid-19. Dr Agnieszka Szemiel and Prof Brian Willett of the CVR in Glasgow have helped enormously by conducting these virus neutralisation studies. We are now actively seeking partners to develop these neutralising antibodies into a useful treatment for Covid-19 patients.”