Engineered ultra-high affinity synthetic antibodies for SARS-CoV-2 neutralization and detection

Slezak T, Kossiakoff AA

J Mol Biol. 2021 Mar 25;doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2021.166956.

PMID: 33775667


The Covid-19 pandemic is a centenarial global catastrophe. Similar events are likely to be recurring with more frequency in the future. The inability to control the virus’ impact is caused by many factors, but the lack of a technology infrastructure to detect and impede the virus at an early stage are principal shortcomings. Using phage display mutagenesis, we have generated a cohort of high performance antibody fragments (Fabs) that can be used in a sensitive point of care (POC) assay and are potent inhibitors (IC50– 0.5 nM) to viral entry into cells. The POC assay is based on a split-enzyme (β-lactamase) complementation strategy that detects virus particles at low nM levels. We have shown that this assay is equally effective for detecting other viruses like Ebola and Zika. Importantly, its components can be freeze dried and stored, but becomes fully active when rehydrated.