Discovery (Lead Identification)
No effective therapeutics or vaccines against Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) are available. The human-to-human aspect of transmission and the high mortality rate associated with MERS-CoV infection have raised concerns over the potential for a future MERS-CoV pandemic and emphasized the need for development of effective therapeutics and vaccines.
The MERS-CoV-S protein is believed to be required for binding and virus entry during MERS-CoV infection. The antibodies of this technology represent candidate antibody-based therapeutics for treatment of MERS-CoV infection. Researchers at the NCI have developed human antibodies that target MERS-CoV. Certain of these antibodies bind with epitopes of the MERS-CoV receptor binding domain (RBD) of MERS-CoV spike (S) protein with high affinity and are capable of neutralizing the virus as demonstrated in a pseudovirus assay.