Avacta's Affimer reagent may neutralize SARS-CoV-2

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

May 15, 2020 -- Avacta Group, the developer of Affimer biotherapeutics and reagents, announced that several Affimer reagents block the interaction between SARS-CoV-2's spike protein and angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), a receptor on human cells that is key to the virus infection pathway.

This mechanism thus has the potential to prevent infection and act as a neutralizing therapy, the firm said. The reagents could be given to individuals who have been exposed to the virus to prevent infection, as well as to COVID-19 patients already infected by the virus. Avacta is looking for a partner with resources to develop the neutralizing therapy as quickly as possible.

As part of its partnership with Cytiva (formerly GE Healthcare Life Sciences and now part of Danaher), the firm has already developed a large number of Affimer reagents that bind to the SARS-CoV-2 virus's spike protein. The two firms are working on a rapid point-of-care COVID-19 antigen saliva test to be mass produced for large-scale population screening and for self-testing by consumers.

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