Nanobodies with cross-neutralizing activity provide prominent therapeutic efficacy in mild and severe COVID-19 rodent models.

Publication date: Jul 07, 2023

The weakened protective efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines and antibodies caused by SARS-CoV-2 variants presents a global health emergency, which underscores the urgent need for universal therapeutic antibody intervention for clinical patients. Here, we screened three alpacas-derived nanobodies (Nbs) with neutralizing activity from twenty RBD-specific Nbs. The three Nbs were fused with the Fc domain of human IgG, namely aVHH-11-Fc, aVHH-13-Fc and aVHH-14-Fc, which could specifically bind RBD protein and competitively inhibit the binding of ACE2 receptor to RBD. They effectively neutralized SARS-CoV-2 pseudoviruses D614G, Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Omicron sub-lineages BA. 1, BA. 2, BA. 4, and BA. 5 and authentic SARS-CoV-2 prototype, Delta, and Omicron BA. 1, BA. 2 strains. In mice-adapted COVID-19 severe model, intranasal administration of aVHH-11-Fc, aVHH-13-Fc and aVHH-14-Fc effectively protected mice from lethal challenges and reduced viral loads in both the upper and lower respiratory tracts. In the COVID-19 mild model, aVHH-13-Fc, which represents the optimal neutralizing activity among the above three Nbs, effectively protected hamsters from the challenge of SARS-CoV-2 prototype, Delta, Omicron BA. 1 and BA. 2 by significantly reducing viral replication and pathological alterations in the lungs. In structural modeling of aVHH-13 and RBD, aVHH-13 binds to the receptor-binding motif region of RBD and interacts with some highly conserved epitopes. Taken together, our study illustrated that alpaca-derived Nbs offered a therapeutic countermeasure against SARS-CoV-2, including those Delta and Omicron variants which have evolved into global pandemic strains.

Concepts Keywords
Competitively Broad-spectrum
D614g COVID-19
Mice Nanobody
Pseudoviruses Rodent models
Universal SARS-CoV-2


Type Source Name
disease MESH COVID-19
disease MESH emergency
disease IDO intervention
drug DRUGBANK Immune Globulin Human
pathway KEGG Viral replication

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