Tetravalent SARS-CoV-2 Neutralizing Antibodies Show Enhanced Potency and Resistance to Escape Mutations

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
S. MierschSachdev Sidhu

Abstract

Recombinant neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) derived from recovered patients have proven to be effective therapeutics for COVID-19. Here, we describe the use of advanced protein engineering and modular design principles to develop tetravalent synthetic nAbs that mimic the multi-valency exhibited by IgA molecules, which are especially effective natural inhibitors of viral disease. At the same time, these nAbs display high affinity and modularity typical of IgG molecules, which are the preferred format for drugs. We show that highly specific tetravalent nAbs can be produced at large scale and possess stability and specificity comparable to approved antibody drugs. Moreover, structural studies reveal that the best nAb targets the host receptor binding site of the virus spike protein, and thus, its tetravalent version can block virus infection with a potency that exceeds that of the bivalent IgG by an order of magnitude. Design principles defined here can be readily applied to any antibody drug, including IgGs that are showing efficacy in clinical trials. Thus, our results present a general framework to develop potent antiviral therapies against COVID-19, and the strategy can be readily deployed in response to future pathogenic threats.

Methods Mentioned

BETA
ELISA
ELISAs
biolayer interferometry
X-ray
electron microscopy
gel filtration
size-exclusion chromatography
PCR
biosensors
transfection

Clinical Trials Mentioned

NCT04452318
NCT04497987

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