A Japanese research group says it has succeeded in artificially engineering an antibody that is capable of preventing the body from getting infected with the new coronavirus. The group says it may pave the way for developing a new drug for the virus.
The group is made up of Professor Katayama Kazuhiko and other researchers of Kitasato University, Epsilon Molecular Engineering and a research institute of Kao Corporation.
In a media release on Thursday, the group says the antibody, called neutralizing antibody, is one of several types that the body produces when certain substances such as viruses enter the body.
This antibody denies viruses entry into human cells by blocking them from latching onto proteins called receptors on the surface of human cells.
The group says it has artificially engineered this antibody against the coronavirus through a genetic analysis of the proteins on the surface of the virus.
The group says laboratory tests have confirmed that the artificially created antibody prevented the coronavirus from infecting most of the cells in test samples.
Professor Katayama says producing a drug from an antibody is a new approach and if it is put into practice, it will provide more options for treatment of the disease.
He says the group will work with pharmaceutical companies in conducting research and development including animal testing to put this into practical use.