Searching for escape-resistant anti-SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies.
Mahla RS., Dustin LB.
A major goal of SARS-CoV-2 vaccination is the induction of neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) capable of blocking infection by preventing interaction of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein with ACE2 on target cells. Cocktails of monoclonal nAbs can reduce the risk of severe disease if administered early in infection. However, multiple variants of concern (VOCs) have arisen during the pandemic that may escape from nAbs. In this issue of the JCI, Jia Zou, Li Li, and colleagues used yeast display libraries to identify mAbs that bind to Spike proteins with a vast array of single amino acid substitutions. The authors identified ¬mutation-resistant monoclonal nAbs for potential use as therapeutics. Multimerization further improved the potency of selected nAbs. These findings suggest a way forward in development of better nAb cocktails. However, the emergence of the highly mutated Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant heightens the importance of finding effective anti-SARS-CoV-2 nAb therapeutics despite rapid viral evolution.