Dutch researchers first to find Covid-19 antibodies: Report

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A team of ten scientific researchers from the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam and Utrecht University say they are the first in the world to discover an antibody capable of fending off an infection by the Covid-19 variant of coronavirus. The discovery could lead to an antiviral medication, and the ability for people to test themselves at home for the presence of the virus.

“I am too old to jump on a table,” said cellular biology professor Frank Grosveld to Erasmus Magazine. Their article is undergoing a peer review by other researchers on the online platform BioRxiv, and they believe it well then be published by top science journal Nature.

"Here we report a human monoclonal antibody that neutralizes SARS-CoV-2 (and SARS-CoV)," the researchers state in their academic paper's abstract. This is the SARS-2 virus, which causes coronavirus induced disease 19, or Covid-19 for short.

They claim the antibody they found "neutralizes" the virus, and "offers the potential to prevent and/or treat COVID-19, and possibly also other future emerging diseases in humans caused by viruses from the Sarbecovirus subgenus."

"As far as we know, this is the very first antibody that blocks the infection," Grosveld explained to the magazine. "Finding something like this is very rare," he said.

Their research would not necessarily lead to a vaccine, but rather a new medicine that could be used to treat those infected with the current coronavirus strain. It could be developed far faster than a vaccine, but would need months of testing, he stated, adding that it would also be more expensive to produce than a vaccine.

"We are now trying to get a pharmaceutical company on board – which is looking promising, by the way – that can produce the antibody on a large scale as a medicine," Grosveld said.

"If you were to take this as a patient, it is expected – only an expectation right now – that the infection will be stopped. And so it can give the patient an opportunity to recover," he told the magazine. 

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