Professor Ray Owens of the University of Oxford, who runs the nanobodies program at Franklin, said the researchers hoped to be able to push the breakthrough in preclinical trials.
Professor David Stuart of Diamond Light Source and the University of Oxford said: “The electron microscopic structures have shown us that the three nanobodies can bind to the tip of the virus, essentially covering the parts that the virus uses to enter human cells. “
Researchers started from a library of llama antibodies in the laboratory and are now screening for antibodies to Fifi, one of the University of Reading’s “Franklin llamas”, taken after she was immunized with harmless purified viral proteins.
The team is examining preliminary results that show that Fifi’s immune system has produced antibodies different from those already identified, which will allow nanobodies to be tested against the virus.
In a separate study, published in Nature Medicine, scientists say they discovered how a crucial component of the immune system responds to the advanced protein of Sars-CoV-2.
Coronavirus particles have a crown (crown) of spike-like proteins, which allow the virus to attach and enter cells in humans. The advanced protein is crucial to induce neutralizing antibodies to protect against reinfection. Neutralizing antibodies not only bind to the viral peak protein, but prevent it from being able to attach to and enter human cells.
Researchers at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Australia have studied how the immune system, especially B and T cells, responds to the spike.
B cells are responsible for the production of antibodies that recognize Sars-CoV-2, while T cells play an important role in supporting the development of the B cell response.
Dr. Jennifer Juno, of the University of Melbourne and a postdoctoral researcher at the Doherty Institute, said the researchers looked at people who had recovered from Covid-19 and who mostly had mild or no symptoms.
She said, “We found that those with strong neutralizing antibody activity had a robust response to B cells, but most surprisingly, we also found that a particular subset of T cells, called helper cells T-follicular, was an excellent predictor of an effective immune response.
“Now that we know how the immune system responds to the peak protein, and we have these biomarkers, or predictors of what triggers a good or bad immune response to Covid-19, we can look at the vaccine candidates and see what will deliver the best protection. “