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A team of Scientists have recognized a protein that worn out the MERS virus, giving the hope for a potential relief to prevent and treat the incurable disease, according to a report published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on 27th July. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is an exceptionally lethal pulmonary infection instigated by a formerly unidentified coronavirus (CoV), possibly passed on to humans by infected camels. There is no licensed vaccine or antiviral available so far to treat MERS, which causes symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath. The team isolated a potent MERS-CoV-neutralizing antibody, named LCA60, from memory B cells of an infected patient. LCA60 antibody binds to a novel site on the spike protein and effectively nullifies infection of MERS by meddling with the binding to the cellular receptor CD26. Scientists claim that LCA60 antibody can efficiently be used for prophylaxis, for postexposure prophylaxis of individuals at risk, or for the treatment of human cases of MERS infection. Notably, LCA60, when given to infected mice, dramatically reduced the amount of the MERS virus in the lungs within days. Even in the worst-case scenario, only one virus remained after three days for every 100 viruses at the start of the treatment. In most cases, the virus became untraceable within five days of treatment. The antibody fought the virus whether it was given a day before or a day after the mice were infected. Current MERS outbreak in China and South Korea has caused 186 infections and 36 deaths as of 28th July WHO report.
See in details;
D. Corti et al. Prophylactic and postexposure efficacy of a potent human monoclonal antibody against MERS coronavirus. PNAS. Published online July 27, 2015. doi: 10.1073/pnas.151019912