Tag Archives: novel coronavirus

Antibodies to fight COVID-19

A Delhi University Professor with his team is busy in his lab to produce a ‘lethal weapon’ to combat the novel coronavirus. If matrrialised, this research may become game changer in the global fight against COVID-19.

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  • Efforts underway to produce therapeutic antibodies against COVID-19.
  • Isolating genes encoding antibodies for neutralising the SARS-CoV-2.

Guwahati, April 12:

Indian scientists are researching on an important lead to find out a cure for COVID-19. It’s a proven fact that the virus invasion can be controlled by the antibodies produced in a body in response to the infection. This same principle is guiding an University of Delhi research team to find out a definite cure for novel coronavirus infection too.

COVID-19 is caused by the novel SARS coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) and it is resulting in many deaths all around the world. Already the global death toll has crossed 100,000 mark. No other pandemic in recent history had caused such devastation. However, a large number of infected people are also recovering despite not having any specific treatment for COVID-19. This is because of antibodies produced within the body in response to the virus invasion.

Over the years, passive transfer of antibodies obtained from the plasma of convalescent patients cured of infection has been used for treatment of numerous disease conditions such as Diphtheria, Tetanus, Rabies, and  Ebola. Today such therapeutic antibodies can be produced in the laboratory by DNA-based recombinant technologies. Efforts are in full swing globally to produce therapeutic antibodies against SARS-CoV-2.

According to a press release from PIB, in India also one such effort is under way. This effort is being led by Professor Vijay Chaudhary at the University of Delhi South Campus-Centre for Innovation in Infectious Disease Research, Education and Training (UDSC-CIIDRET), with the support of the Department of Biotechnology in the Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India.  

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Professor Chaudhary’s group is isolating genes encoding antibodies, which can neutralise the SARS-CoV-2, using a large antibody library already available in-house as well as a library made from cells of patients who have recovered from COVID-19 infection, the release stated.

These antibody genes will be used to produce recombinant antibodies in the laboratory, which, if successful in neutralising the virus, will become a perennial source of antibodies against this virus, both for prophylactic and therapeutic purposes.

This work is being undertaken as part of an Anti-COVID consortium under the leadership of Prof. Chaudhary and involving Dr. Amulya Panda at National Institute of Immunology and Dr. Sanjay Singh at Gennova Biopharmaceutical Limited, Pune (GBL).

COVID -19 and the streets are talking

Is the novel coronavirus, which is creating havoc all around the world, a man made one? Is it a bio weapon manufactured in a lab at Wuhan? What science has to say?

Time Snippet
by Nirmal Jyoti Kapil

At the time of crisis, conspiracy theories popp up. The pandemic crisis created by SARS-CoV-2 a.k.a. the novel coronavirus can’t be an exception. Streets are talking. And serious allegations are being levelled against Beijing. Either accidentally or purposefully, did a man made bio weapon in the form of a deadly virus escape from a laboratory and now threatening the humanity? Is China taking the world to a third world war?

These are some serious allegations coming up in the wake of the pandemic created by SARS-CoV-2. The social media as well as the traditional media are not letting any stone unturned to fuel such speculations. In one of the worst global crises like this, one can’t be sure hundred percent which way the water is flowing. But based on some latest scientific discoveries, an attempt is made in this article to know what circumstantial evidences tell about the origin of SARS-CoV-2. Is the novel coronavirus a man made bio weapon or a naturally evolved deadly parasite?

But why these allegations?

Beijing was never transparent on COVID-19 outbreak. First, it’s initial response was very sluggish. Second, it tried to cover up the outbreak from the world in its initial stages. Moreover, the stern actions taken against the whistleblowers also did considerable harm to Beijing’s image. Suspicion grew all around. Why Beijing tried to hush up the fact that a humanitarian crisis was about to explode in Wuhan city? Beijing’s non-transparent attitude arose many questions.

Is this virus really lab made?

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the world. Humanity is facing one of it’s worst crises in centuries. Emerging in Wuhan City, in the Hubei Province of China, the deadly virus has already travelled to more than 180 countries on this planet. Countries after countries are locked down to break the chain of infection and to bring the spread of the virus under control. Medical fraternity, the emergency service providers, the policy makers, all are battling to bring back normalcy in the world order. Scientific community is busy to find a cure to save the humanity. The scientists are also busy to find the root of origin of this deadly parasite. And one such research gave circumstantial evidences whether this virus was a man made or a naturally evolved one.

What is SARS-CoV-2?

• SARS-CoV-2 is the seventh coronavirus known to infect human.
• The other members of this family include SARS-CoV, which was responsible for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome disease in 2003, MERS-CoV, responsible for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome disease outbreak in 2012 besides the HKU1, NL63, OC43 and 229 E, those are associated with some mild symptoms.

What the latest research says?

A latest research published in prestigious Nature Medicine journal has categorically stated that novel coronavirus or the SARS-CoV-2 was not a man mad or a laboratory manufactured virus. It is a naturally evolved virus as like it’s other family members. Researchers Kristian Andersen from Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA and Robert Garry from Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans respectively used some sophisticated bioinformatics tools to infer that SARS-CoV-2 evolved naturally. They studied the genomic data of the new coronavirus and did a computational analysis. On the basis of these structural studies and bio chemical experiments the scientists had found that the molecular structure or the backbone of SARS-CoV-2 is significantly different from that of those known coronaviruses. This is a strong evidence to suggest that this new coronavirus is a naturally evolved one because if someone wish to create a new virus in a lab he will definitely use or engineer molecular structure of a known virus. But in this case, the molecular structure of SARS-CoV-2 significantly differs from other. Morever, studies found that the new coronavirus is almost 96 percent identical to SARS- CoV like coronaviruses found in Rhinolophus affinis bat, although, the bat coronavirus can’t bind to human on it’s own. Interestingly, some pangolin coronaviruses exhibit strong similarities to SARS-CoV-2 in this particular characteristics of binding to human. Thus from the sophisticated scientific studies it can be assumed that the SARS-CoV-2 might be the result of natural selection involving bat and pangolin as host and intermediate host respectively. This preliminary study leave aside the conspiracy theory that the deadly novel coronavirus is a man made one.