This technology describes neutralizing antibodies sourced from dromedary camels that are effective against SARS-CoV-2 and related coronaviruses.
COVID-19, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, is an established global threat to public health and economic development. Although SARS-CoV-2 vaccinations are underway, until herd immunity is reached the global population will remain at risk, underscoring the need for improved therapeutic and preventative approaches. The administration of COVID-19 convalescent plasma (CCP) from recovered donors has emerged as a promising therapy but is hindered by short-term efficacy of human polyclonal antibodies and incompatibility with mass production. Alternative sources of therapeutic antibodies may overcome these issues and enable more efficient control of COVID-19 infections.
This technology describes dromedary camels as a natural source of neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 and thus a potential host for large scale production of therapeutic antibodies. Unlike other sources of polyclonal antibodies, camels produce single domain heavy-chain only antibodies, called VHHs, that display high specificity, stability, and solubility. In addition, the small size enables recognition of unusual antigenic sites and deep tissue penetration. The inventors screened over 200 camels with demonstrated anti-MERS-CoV antibodies and found medium-to-high titers of cross-neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. Through linear B cell epitope mapping, the inventors identified a large repertoire of betacoronavirus cross-reactive antibody specificities and demonstrated that several SARS-CoV-2 epitopes are highly immunogenic in humans, including a neutralizing epitope. These results suggest that immunization of camels with SARS-CoV-2 could lead to the discovery and production of novel therapeutic antibodies for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.
- Treatment and prevention of COVID-19 and related coronaviruses
- Identification and mass production of broadly neutralizing antibodies
- Increased specificity, stability, and solubility compared to conventional therapeutic antibodies
- Small size allows the camel antibodies to recognize unusual antigenic sites and penetrate deep into tissues
- Cost-effective production of polyclonal antibodies
- Chouchane et al. “Dromedary camels as a natural source of neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2.” JCI Insight. 2021.
- News Article: “WCM-Q scientists investigate whether camels hold cure for Covid-19.” Gulf Times. Published Feb 16, 2021.