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The new synthetic mini-antibody blocks the RBDs, therefore has the potential to stop the virus from entering human cells. Unsplash

In a significant development, scientists have identified a synthetic mini-antibody that turned out to be particularly effective in blocking the new coronavirus from entering human cells.

The ability of SARS-CoV-2 to infect cells depends on interactions between the viral spike protein and the human cell surface protein ACE2.


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To enable the virus to hook onto the cell surface, the spike protein binds ACE2 using three finger-like protrusions, called the receptor-binding domains (RBDs).

The new synthetic mini-antibody blocks the RBDs, therefore, has the potential to stop the virus from entering human cells said the researchers from EMBL Hamburg, CSSB, Karolinska Institutet, and the University of Zurich.

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EMBL Hamburg searched through the existing libraries to find sybodies that could block SARS-CoV-2 from infecting human cells.

Among the best binders, one called “sybody 23” turned out to be particularly effective in blocking the RBDs.


In future work, the scientists will perform further analyses to confirm whether sybody 23 could be an effective COVID-19 treatment. Unsplash

“Getting the results so quickly was only possible because the methodologies we used had already been established for other research projects unrelated to SARS-CoV-2. Developing these tools would have taken significantly more time and resources,” said Christian Low from EMBL Hamburg.

Nanobodies, small antibodies found in camels and llamas, are promising as tools against viruses due to their high stability and small size.

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Although obtaining them from animals is time-consuming, technological advances now allow for rapid selection of synthetic nanobodies, called sybodies.

A technology platform to select sybodies from large synthetic libraries was recently developed in the lab of Markus Seeger at the University of Zurich, and made available for this study.

Also Read: Delhi Government Removes Schemes On Approval To Standalone Restaurants

The results hold out the promise of a potential way to treat COVID-19, the team said.

In future work, the scientists will perform further analyses to confirm whether sybody 23 could be an effective COVID-19 treatment. (IANS)


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Indian wrestler Ravi Kumar (57kg) and Deepak Punia (86kg) enjoyed fruitful outings at the Tokyo Olympic Games as they secured semifinal berths in their respective weight categories at the Makuhari Messe on Wednesday.

On the opening day of the wrestling competition, Ravi Kumar defeated Bulgaria's Georgi Vangelov 14-4 on technical superiority to reach the last-four in the men's 57kg category, while compatriot Deepak Punia overcame China's Zushen Lin 6-3 on points to advance to the semifinals.

Ravi Kumar will take on Nurislam Sanayev of Kazakhstan in the last-four, while Punia will be up against David Morris Taylor of the USA.

Earlier, Ravi Kumar had won his opening-round bout by technical superiority against Colombia's Oscar Tigreros to secure a quarterfinal spot. Competing in the Round-of-16 bout against the Colombian wrestler, the 23-year-old Ravi Kumar, who is making his Olympic debut, showed no nerves as he dominated the bout to win by technical superiority (13-2).

Ravi Kumar landed attack after attack and went 13-2 up, winning the bout by technical superiority with minutes to spare. In wrestling, building up a 10-point lead over the opponent results in a victory by technical superiority.

India's 86kg freestyle wrestler Deepak Punia showed no signs of the niggle that had forced him to pull out of the Poland Open Ranking Series in Warsaw in June, as he defeated Nigeria's Ekerekeme Agiomor on technical superiority to secure a quarterfinal berth.

He got his Olympic campaign to a fine start as he was in control from the start of the bout and hardly ever allowed his Nigerian opponent any room to maneuver his moves, finally winning with a 12-1 on technical superiority.

Punia, who had also suffered an elbow injury just before the Games, was slow at the start but came into his own as the bout progressed, inflicting takedowns at regular intervals to earn points.

The Indian wrestler eased into a 4-1 lead at the break and extended his lead comfortably in the second period.

Punia, the silver medallist from the 2019 world wrestling championships, then set up a clash with China's Lin Zushen in the quarterfinals and defeated him 6-3.

(IANS/HP)