New reports say that a powerful new drug that can neutralize the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus has been created by researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
As it turns out, this includes the Omicron variant but also every other known and tested variant out there.
Not only that but the innovative drug is supposedly just as efficient against future variants as well, even if the virus goes through natural selection in order to maintain its power of infection.
It is safe to say that this investigational drug is quite different from antibody drugs, the latter of which are losing their effectiveness in fighting the COVID-19 virus.
As mentioned in a research published in the journal Science Advances, this is a related molecule known as an ACE2 receptor decoy and not an antibody.
What differentiates it from an antibody is the fact that ACE2 makes it harder for the virus to evade as mutations meant to avoid the drug will also reduce its capability of infecting cells.
That being said, scientists have figured out a way to make this sort of drug neutralize COVID in infected animals first and then make it safe for patients.
Naturally, this is great news given the fact that the current antibody drugs used to treat COVID are no longer effective as a result of the viral spike protein mutating to escape being targeted.
First author James Torchia and author Gordon Freeman are the ones who have discovered what makes ACE2 decoys so long lasting and potent.
Apparently, they are able to trigger an irreversible change in the virus’ structure.
More precisely, what they do is essentially get rid of the viral spike protein so it can no longer bind to the cell’s surface, infecting it.
Since, as you probably know, the SARS-CoV-2 virus is covered by these spikes, it explains why this new drug is so potent, functioning as a competitive inhibitor but also permanently inactivating the virus altogether.
Given the fact that binding to ACE2 is required for infection, variants can mutate but they still have to bind to ACE2, which makes this new drug continuously active and effective against any variant, current or future.
The drug has been dubbed DF-COV-01 and is yet to be tested on humans.
However, manufacturing development is reportedly almost complete and preclinical studies that are needed for regulatory approval are also underway, the current goal being to get the drug into clinical trials as soon as possible.