The researchers said the SARS-CoV-2 uses the receptor binding domain (RBD) on its spike protein to bind to the host cell-surface receptor, ACE2, and infect human cells
LOS ANGELES :
Scientists have discovered a common feature found in many of the human antibodies that neutralise the novel coronavirus, a finding which they say can aid successful vaccine development against COVID-19.
While multiple vaccine candidates have entered clinical trials, the researchers, including those from the Scripps Research Institute in the US, said the features of human antibodies which contribute to the most effective immune response against the novel coronavirus -- SARS-CoV-2 -- remain unclear.
In the study, published in the journal Science, they assessed nearly 300 recently identified human SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, and uncovered a gene frequently associated with those most effective against the virus.
The researchers explained that SARS-CoV-2 uses the receptor binding domain (RBD) on its spike protein to bind to the host cell-surface receptor, ACE2, and infect human cells.
They said antibodies which could target the RBD and block binding to ACE2 are highly sought, and a number have been discovered.
In the current study, the scientists, including Yuan Meng from The Scripps Research Institute, assessed a list of 294 such RBD-targeting antibodies.
They found that a gene in the IGHV gene family, known as IGHV3-53, is the most frequently used IGHV gene for targeting the RBD of the virus spike protein.
IGHV3-53 antibodies, the researchers said, not only have lower mutation rates but are also more potent in neutralising the virus.