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Synthetic Nanobodies, " Sybodies, " Found That Neutralize SARS-CoV-2

three finger-like protrusions, called the
receptor-binding domains (RBDs). Blocking the
RBDs therefore has the potential to stop the
virus from entering human cells. This can be
done using antibodies.
Nanobodies, small antibodies found in camels
and llamas, are promising as tools against
viruses due to their high stability and small size.
Daniel Viñé Garcia / Getty Images

Although obtaining them from animals is time
consuming, technological advances now allow
for rapid selection of synthetic nanobodies,
called sybodies. A technology platform to select
sybodies from large synthetic libraries was
recently developed in the lab of Markus Seeger,

Nanobodies, small antibodies found in camels and llamas, are
promising as tools against viruses but time consuming to obtain
from animals.

PhD, assistant professor at the University of
Zurich, and made available for this study.

and efficient neutralization activity were
identified of which Sb23 displayed high affinity

In search of the best sybody

and neutralized pseudovirus with an IC50 of

against SARS-CoV-2

0.6 µg/mL, " the authors wrote.

The lab of Christian Löw, PhD, group leader at

To learn exactly how sybody 23 interacts with

EMBL Hamburg, searched through the existing

the viral RBDs, researchers in the group of Dmitri

libraries to find sybodies that could block

Svergun, PhD, senior scientist at EMBL Hamburg,

SARS-CoV-2 from infecting human cells. First,

analyzed the binding of sybody 23 to the RBDs by

they used the viral spike protein's RBDs as bait to

small-angle X-ray scattering. In addition, Martin

select those sybodies that bind to them. Next,

Hällberg, PhD, at the Karolinska Institutet used

they tested the selected sybodies according to

cryo-EM to determine the structure of the full

their stability, effectiveness, and the precision

SARS-CoV-2 Spike bound to sybody 23.

of binding. Among the best binders, one called

The authors explained that the cryo-EM

sybody 23 turned out to be particularly effective

structure of the spike bound to sybody 23

in blocking the RBDs.

showed that " sybody 23 binds competitively in

" Several binders with low nanomolar affinities
28 |

GENengnews.com

the ACE2 binding site. " Furthermore, they noted,


http://www.GENengnews.com

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