Shark protein has an antibody-like neutralizing effect on COVID virus and other variants and coronaviruses

Turns out the most COVID-free place on the planet might just be shark-infested waters. In New findings published in Nature CommunicationsResearchers say they have discovered that a shark-specific protein can neutralize the COVID-19 virus and its variants. Aaron LeBeau, a pathologist from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and co-author of the new study, says, “These small antibody-like proteins can get into niches that human antibodies can’t reach. . said in a statement. “They can form these very unique geometries. This allows them to recognize structures in [coronavirus] proteins that our human antibodies cannot.

The protein, known as VNAR, is produced naturally by the shark’s immune system. They are one-tenth the size of human antibodies, making them small and agile enough to bind to proteins made by infectious pathogens and block their function.

LeBeau and his team tested the antibody function of shark VNARs against infectious and non-infectious versions of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). Out of the billions of VNARs, they found three that were particularly effective at stopping the virus from infecting human cells.

Shark Nurse in Aaron LeBeau’s Lab.

Brian Richter

A special version, called 3B4, can attach to a mutated viral protein that is common across different coronaviruses and different SARS-CoV-2 variants, like Delta. This mechanism means that 3B4 has been very successful in inactivating other coronaviruses in the laboratory, including WIV1-CoV (which is endemic to bats but can also infect human and human cells). is thought to be the origin of SARS-CoV-2), SARS-CoV -1 (responsible for the 2003 SARS outbreak), and MERS virus.

VNARs have yet to be tested in humans, and it is unlikely that clinical trials will be completed in time to provide VNARs to combat the current COVID pandemic (despite the speed things are going, never say never). Most likely, the authors stress, VNAR can be turned into a tool to combat future coronavirus outbreaks in humans and prevent a new pandemic from forming. It can be quite easy and affordable to make a VNARS cocktail of sharks and deploy it as an early treatment, especially if there is no vaccine.

“The big problem is that there are a number of coronaviruses that are ready to emerge in humans,” LeBeau said. “What we are doing is preparing an arsenal of VNAR shark therapeutics that can be used for future SARS outbreaks. It’s a kind of insurance against the future.” Shark protein has an antibody-like neutralizing effect on COVID virus and other variants and coronaviruses


ClareFora is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. ClareFora joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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