dcyphr | Perspectives on Monoclonal Antibody Therapy as Potential Therapeutic Intervention for Coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19)


     COVID-19 is only one of the life-threatening outbreaks that took place in the last decade. Experts believe that the COVID-19 virus originated in Wuhan, Hubei, China. The emergence of coronaviruses like this may be a big threat to people’s health across the world. Research on SARS-CoV may help scientists understand COVID-19 since the two viruses have many similarities epidemiologically. In this paper, researchers look into using monoclonal antibodies to help treat SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV.



Coronaviruses are a diverse family of viruses that affects mammals, birds, and humans. These viruses have an envelope membrane that contain a single strand of RNA inside. SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and COVID-19 are all coronaviruses. The exact origin of COVID-19 may be from bats, the dynamics of how it spread is not known.

COVID-19 produces a wide range of symptoms, sometimes resulting in death. These symptoms usually take about 2-14 days after catching the virus to appear. Experts warn that COVID-19 spreads through direct contact and droplets that come from the lungs and throat. Up to this point, research has focused on finding and making molecules that can target the virus’s spike protein. The spike protein is what helps the virus enter and infect cells. If researchers can find and use a molecule to inhibit the spike protein from working, the virus will not be able to infect.


Therapeutic Intervention for COVID-19

      There is currently no approved vaccine or treatment for COVID-19 or other coronaviruses. This is why quickly discovering and making new treatments is very important. One possible approach has been to use the antibodies of infected patients to prevent future infections and neutralizing the virus. This new therapy would have many challenges, including finding donors, understanding the virus, and how the virus is infecting a specific person.

      The use of immunotherapy and monoclonal antibodies can help overcome these challenges. These antibodies are very effective and very specific to their target.

       COVID-19 infects the cells by having its spike protein interact with proteins on the cell’s surface membrane. This makes the spike protein a good target for developing drugs and antibodies to prevent infection. Similar to SARS-CoV, COVID-19 relies on the host cell’s ACE2 receptors to bind and infect the cell, which is why SARS-CoV treatments may be able to also treat COVID-19. Monoclonal antibodies can specifically target these receptors to prevent infection. When monoclonal antibodies target and bind to a receptor, it prevents that receptor from working and binding to its intended target. Figures 3, 4, and 5 show how this would work. Preliminary experiments show promising results that monoclonal antibodies may be a useful therapy (table 1 and table 2). The use of different kind of monoclonal antibodies to target multiple structures and proteins seems to be a promising anti-viral therapy in the future.


Concluding Remarks

     Even though the use of monoclonal antibodies as a therapy has shown to be a promising therapy, there are not any fully developed and marketable products yet. Hopefully, prior research on SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV will push researchers to develop this much needed treatment.