The present covid-19 pandemic still has science busy. Researchers around the world are trying to defeat the virus after almost two years. Because it is an animal-derived virus, scientists are researching animal proteins to counteract it. One example is shark protein.
Shark protein could prevent covid-19
A while back, scientists in Chile discovered an antibody present in alpacas with good results. Now, scientists at the University of Wisconsin Madison have discovered a protein that sharks have.
The research was published in Nature Communications. They revealed that antibody-like proteins can be extracted from the immune system of sharks. These proteins could prevent the coronavirus-causing virus from infecting human cells.
Shark antibodies now have a name
However, such proteins will not be available in the short to medium term. Although they may help prevent future infections with animal viruses from making the leap to humans. They may even be useful against covid-19 mutations
They named the antibodies VNAR. They had already used them in 2003 for the neutralization of a coronavirus strain. At that time it was SARS-Cov 1 and the results were excellent. This type of coronavirus is present in bats. They suppose that it was the beginning of the present SARS-Cov 2, which caused the pandemic.
The researchers identified three VNARs, among a list of millions, that prevent the SDARS-Cov2 virus from infecting human cells. These three VNARs were also effective with the first of the strains named above
Advantages offered by these antibodies
What makes this discovery most interesting is that VNARS are one-tenth the size of human antibodies. Their size and distinctive shape allows them to cluster together to block the passage of the coronavirus. This prevents them from infecting human cells.
Shark antibodies, because of their size, can access spaces where human antibodies cannot reach. In addition, they can recognize protein structures that human antibodies do not recognize.
The study is also important for those people who do not respond well to vaccines because they are immunosuppressed. VNARS could create a way for their bodies to defend against the virus without the need for vaccination.
In the future, therapies will rely on these new proteins extracted from sharks. Both from the present coronaviruses and also their subsequent mutations. Although tested on human cells, it has not yet been tested on people. However, it is expected that the results will be the same as in the laboratory.
In addition, scientists claim that it is cheaper and easier to obtain than human antibodies. They can be inoculated into the body by various routes. Scientists believe that this coronavirus will not be the last to jump to humans. For that reason, one should be prepared for future infections