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How about a nasal spray of Nanobodies, smaller faster and cheaper than antibodies?

 The “Aeronabs” are on the way?

Right now there are more biomedical research teams focused on one problem than at any point in history, and they are armed. This is Biotech’s Big Moment, and here’s just another potential game changer. The time line here is short, and the ability to scale it is large. The seige of 2020 will end one way or another, and we will gain a whole set of tools to use on other viruses too.

If the virus has a key to get into our cells, this is like making millions of decoy locks that stick to the keys and thus disable them.

What if we could coat our lungs with tiny particles that work like PPE against coronavirus? The aim here is that one nasal spray a day might stop the virus getting entry into our cells. At the moment, one team have this working in the lab already. They’ve created a kind of cut down mini antibody, and at this stage it sticks like glue to the viral spikes. It still needs to be tested in humans, and might yet fall in a hole. But it’s another example of the potential contained in molecular engineering on a scale like we’ve never done before. And we know something like this works in Camels, Alpacas and Llamas, because that’s where the inspiration came from — so it’s not entirely crazy.

Perhaps we’ll just “spray up” for holidays and parties?

The numbers involved in just this one research project are boggling. The team at UCSF started out with two billion different nanobodies and screened them down to nine that stick to the hot-money part of the Covid spikes — the key that opens a lock on the outside of your cells (called the ACE2 receptor). The idea is that any Sars Cov-2 viruses rolling around in your lungs will get coated with these little molecules and thus spin on uselessly for days afterwards, unable to use their keys to get in to your cells. The coated virus will get broken down eventually, as all viruses do when they can’t engage and use host machinery.

In short, if this works in people without any nasty side effects, it could change everything.

The process relies on finding a shape that is exactly right — that will only stick to the virus and then not let go. The research team added a clever modification. Because the virus spikes have three repeated “keys’ at the end of the spike, the team repeated and joined three nanobodies together in formation. When one binds, they all bind and it locks the spike up.

The abstract even refers to pico, nano and even a femto units.

And when they drew on the results of both modifications, linking three of the powerful mutated nanobodies together, the results were “off the charts,” said Walter. “It was so effective that it exceeded our ability to measure its potency.”

Back in 1989 researchers realized camel antibodies were like nothing they’d ever seen — much smaller, and that makes them much more stable, and easier to mass produce. We can genetically insert the right code into bacteria and use the microbial world as mass factories to generate billions of Aeronabs.

Derek Lowe writes about the discovery of these long ago, and how they blew away so many theories:

Camelids and Nanobodies

And with that, we shall now abruptly veer off into talking about camels, llamas, alpacas and their kin, because they have their own variety of antibody. No one knew that they had a different system going until 1989, when a student-run project at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel was trying to come up with a diagnostic test to check camels for trypanosome infection. They discovered that camel antibodies were. . .weird. Some of them were just like the ones above, but about 75% of the camel antibodies (and up to 50% in the New World species like llamas) have no light chains at all. They just have the variable parts of the heavy chain stuck directly onto the “base” constant region. Sharks and their relatives, as it turns out, have something similar going on with a different sort of base region, in what are clearly two different evolutionary events: at least 220 million years ago for the cartilaginous fish and 25 million years ago for the camelids. Both sets of animals seem to work just fine with their proprietary systems – before these discoveries, most immunologists would have said that that such modifications would be likely to cripple the antibody response, but not so.

 Vaccine testing is very slow in comparison. It aims to train a whole army — and then we have to check the results. This is vastly simpler, now we have the tools…

After WWII medical science conquered the world of bacteria with antibiotics. This then could be the start of the age of the Antivirals?

This video shows how complicated just the spike is, with the separate arms opening to activate the key. The new Aeronabs can join the three units at the top and stop them getting “armed and ready”.
Story sources:

Other things worth knowing

Is it a bioweapon?

Long term health effects and unrecorded “Excess” Covid deaths:
There are so many cheap ways to beat this virus:
Big picture policy — geopolitical

REFERENCES

Schoof et al (2020) An ultra-high affinity synthetic nanobody blocks SARS-CoV-2 infection by locking Spike into an inactive conformation, https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.08.08.238469v1

9.4 out of 10 based on 53 ratings

39 comments to How about a nasal spray of Nanobodies, smaller faster and cheaper than antibodies?

  • #
    Jojodogfacedboy

    I am sort of surprised that we don’t use inhalers as a way to fight certain viruses. It would be far more effective and almost instantaneous to combat these.

    60

  • #
    Geoffrey Williams

    Such a clever innovation. This sounds like it could be a game changer; whilst we have these nanobodies present in our body then we have immunity to the covid virus.
    GeoffW

    60

  • #
    robert rosicka

    Ivermectin combo now and wait for this to become available hopefully in a few months , looks to be safer than a vaccine .

    180

  • #
    Drapetomania

    Antibodies?..Yet the problem they are finding is the anti bodies are not hanging around for long enough..so lets keep plugging the anti body angle?
    Or..they could see what is happening with Tcells.
    Nope..lets keep plugging vaccines that will never happen..
    https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/08/antibodies-not-only-key-to-beating-coronavirus-cvd/

    70

  • #
    RickWill

    This article provides more detail on the selection process to cull the most effective proteins from billions of options:
    https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-human-os/biomedical/devices/covid19-aeronabs

    Walter notes, too, that the name “nanobody” may be deceptive. AeroNabs, he points out, are not in fact nanoparticles or any such exotic creation of nanotechnology. The mNb6-tri protein consists, by design, almost entirely of the same amino acids that make up human proteins. Human airways and bloodstreams are awash in all kinds of proteins that are much like mNb6-tri wherever one might care to look. Only this particular protein has been engineered specifically to bind, as Manglik says, “absurdly tightly” to COVID’s primary tool for breaking and entering human cells.

    This is both a prevention and a treatment for infection. Will be interesting to monitor its progress through trials.

    Australia has done a deal with AstraZeneca for 25M doses of the Oxford developed vaccine. AZD1222 is now in phase 3 trials around the globe:
    https://www.trialsitenews.com/category/azd1222/

    US has tipped in USD1bn to help fund the development of AZD1222; that has to be some a tick of promise.

    41

    • #

      What we hope RickWill is that the Aeronabs don’t also bind to any normal molecule which is supposed to target the ACE2 receptor. They may need tweaking if they do to stop them affecting the biochemical routes which use the ACE2 receptor. These are powerful blood pressure pathways. Side effects might be significant. Though if they bind so incredibly well that they work at pico or femto doses they might still be useful as long as we are extremely careful about the size of the dose.

      30

  • #
    Peter C

    Perhaps we’ll just “spray up” for holidays and parties?

    I liked the aerosol sprayer. Set up one of those and you could spray a whole room and treat everyone at once.
    I hope it is not dystopian science. It seems a bit like the Matrix.

    40

    • #
      RickWill

      It seems a bit like the Matrix.

      If you read the link I posted at #5 you get more detail on how the portions were selected. It is a simple but clever approach.

      01

    • #
      Rob Kennedy

      This is in no way a disparagement of the topic, and it could be a breakthrough, just like farmers spray medications onto the backs of cattle instead of doing the laborious (and sometimes dangerous) drenching via down the throat method.
      However, this brought up a memory from the past when I spoke to an oldtimer who told me that before doing an underground mining shift it was the practice to inhale aluminium powder to protect themselves from silicosis. I wasn’t sure if my memory was correct but the link below confirms the story.

      During the 1950s and 1960s, aluminium dust inhalation was used as a potential prophylaxis against silicosis in underground miners, including in Australia.

      https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24142983/

      A bit like, “Nine out of ten doctors recommend Camels”, (or was it Lucky Strike?). This was a great impetus to the growing trend of people to becoming sceptics.

      40

    • #
      Annie

      I’ve sometimes added a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a pan of simmering water on the stove when colds and ‘flu were about. I put some on a clean handkerchief to breathe in from time to time when in company (well, not atm; home is a company-free zone 🙁 )

      30

  • #
    David Maddison

    Modern Australian governments are ultra-cautious to the extent of being almost afraid of their own shadow and exceptionally risk-averse and do everything at a slovenly pace, if at all.

    Even if there were a C-19 vax or Nanobodies available at the end of the year, and even if they worked, and even if they were adequately tested, and even if they could be produced in sufficient quantities, it could take years before the vaccine or Nanobodies were available to all in Australia.

    Meanwhile the economy and social fabric will be utterly destroyed and people will continue to die as long as certain known effecious treatments for early stage infection (e.g. HCQ among others) continue to be prohibited. This won’t end well.

    120

  • #
    Brenda Spence

    WOW. Scientists rule!

    01

  • #
    Brenda Spence

    WOW. Scientists rule!

    01

  • #
    David Maddison

    We should also not be relying, in general, on vaccines or Nanobodies for infection control. People should be allowed to develop natural immunity to most pathogens with the exception of where those pathogens are mostly lethal or debilitating as with the traditional conditions for which vaccines are developed. Otherwise we end up a population with poor immunity to most things, even common organisms.

    100

    • #
      James Murphy

      sure, but it does seem that our lords and masters have been convinced that the only way out of the current “lockdown” cycle is a vaccine. While I dont think the wuhan flu is harmless and can be totally ignored, I also see why people feel like hostages, or victims of a standover racket.

      100

      • #
        PeterS

        I am starting to suspect it’s worse than that as the evidence is mounting by the day for those who care to do their own research.

        Scott Morrison announces free COVID-19 vaccines for Australians, says it will be ‘as mandatory as possible’

        If that is true then my worst fears have been fulfilled. We are turning into a prison state by state and federal leaders who are punch drunk with power.

        130

        • #

          PeterS, I agree with your concern about mandatory anything in medicine. Hence my frustration with the vaccine mantra when we have so many other options now.

          David, Clearly I wouldn’t want to solely rely on a nasal spray day after day either. But at the moment, until this virus mutates into something more friendly I would not risk the long term potential heart damage and unknown other effects — which sometimes occur even in mild cases. (Eg that study that found heart damage in 80% of mild-moderate cases, and the other study that showed lung damage even in asymptomatic people).

          A few years from now it may be a disease worth catching. But not yet. The bioweapon gain-of-function potentially makes this disease very different.

          51

        • #

          Bill Gates and Big Pharma will be pleased, freedom loving citizens will be dismayed.

          90

    • #
      Ross

      Your comments David have parallels in other sectors. In the ag chem industry we learnt decades ago that an over reliance on crop protection products like insecticides and fungicides can lead (very quickly) to resistance problems and poor control outcomes. Too many examples to quote here. The gold standard, if it can be achieved, is to breed crop cultivars that have their own inert resistance to diseases. For insect control, try to implement strategies that would lead to Integrated Pest Management (IPM) outcomes. In both situations you can still use fungicides/ insecticides selectively and expertly to complement. For COVID, the perception is (a) you need to go to hospital to get treatment rather than trying to prevent it (b) the only solution is a vaccine. Our authorities should be talking about preventive measures vs COVID and then also natural herd immunity to progress- albeit in a managed way.

      101

  • #
    Ross

    Interesting stuff I’ll admit. But we already have early intervention anti-virals that are cheap, easy to produce with a well known tox profile that have been used for decades with almost fully proven efficacy. What’s not to like about the zinc ionophores like hydroxychloroquine and now quercetin, green tea extract and probably ivermectin? Particularly when used with an antibiotic like Azithromycin. For years I have always wondered why GP’s would prescribe antibiotics for the flu even though technically they only have efficacy vs bacteria. (not viruses) It had nothing to do with secondary bacterial infections. It was because the medical fraternity always suspected antibiotics had an anti-viral mode of action. Probably, like HCQ etc, they also acted as zinc ionophores.

    90

  • #
    Tel

    What if we could coat our lungs with tiny particles that work like PPE against coronavirus?

    Colloidal Silver nasal spray!

    Available to you at the Alex Jones store.

    Is it effecting you ask? Well … you won’t like the answer to that … because no one will do testing. Why not test? There’s no way to get a patent on what is already a well known product, and the cost of production is largely determined by the cost of silver. Hence the cost of extremely expensive clinical trials cannot be covered by the meager profits on a simple product. This process continues to encourage the medical industry to innovate towards newer, more complex, and overpriced “cures” instead of simple and decently priced lifestyle improvements.

    DISCLAIMER: I have not tried this nasal spray, but would be interested if anyone has.

    50

    • #
      greggg

      I make my own colloidal silver and have used it as a nasal spray. I’ve long term sinus infection and it does eliminate infection in the sinuses on or near the surface, but it can’t eliminate the infection in deeper tissue.
      Grapefruit seed extract nasal spray should also work.

      10

  • #
    Analitik

    Here’s a nice layman’s article on this discovery from well before the advent of SARS-CoV-2

    https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/05/mini-antibodies-discovered-sharks-and-camels-could-lead-drugs-cancer-and-other-diseases

    30

  • #
    beowulf

    Low humidity spurs COVID infections
    https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australia/low-humidity-spurs-covid-infections-study/ar-BB184Oa9?ocid=msedgdhp

    “Drier air increases the risk of COVID-19 community transmission because . . . aerosols are smaller and therefore capable of hanging in the air for longer during periods of low humidity, such as in winter.
    The University of Sydney-led research, published on Tuesday in the Transboundary and Emerging Diseases journal, estimated COVID-19 community cases could increase by up to eight per cent for every one per cent decrease in relative humidity.
    Prof Ward said a 10 per cent drop in relative humidity could double COVID-19 notifications.”

    Recommends the wearing of masks.

    40

  • #
    Red Edward

    This concept has further ranging possibilities. Consider:

    Auto-immune syndromes. If one can create a key to block an antigen attachment, couldn’t one make a a block that selectively blocks the active end of a particular antibody? (They are selective molecules, after all.)

    One could go after male pattern baldness as well. Look at all the money spent on that. . .

    10

  • #
  • #
    el gordo

    The Beijing model is working well.

    ‘Chinese mainland reports 17 new COVID-19 cases, all imported.’ China Daily

    01

  • #
    Andrew McRae

    Queensland Health is placing self-isolation notices on people here based on positive virus test results occurring in other countries.
    https://www.health.qld.gov.au/news-events/doh-media-releases/releases/public-health-alert-brisbane-south-19-08-2020
    How unlucky can you be, holidaying in a state that has hardly any detected cases and still catching it? Raises the questions of test reliability and why our health department still has not adopted any randomised PCR testing or any antibody testing at large scale. A lot of people must have asked this because Qld health has an answer in their Covid19 testing FAQ:

    How long have you known about the serology test and why haven’t you done it sooner?
    Serology testing is a new test which was recently validated.

    Fair enough, it’s new, and yet the question remains why the antibody test is still not being deployed to gauge the true IFR and the extent of subclinical damage in asymptomatic cases.

    20

  • #
    DevonshireDozer

    I’m appalled at the draconian measures taken here in the UK (after the horse had bolted), but was astonished to see a report about what is happening in Melbourne. I don’t believe it – this really true?

    https://summit.news/2020/08/18/melbourne-authorities-to-use-surveillance-drones-to-catch-people-not-wearing-masks/

    Do people here think it’s the right thing to do?

    30

    • #
      PTR

      The Victorian news reports that I have heard relating to this never mentioned masks. The forced use of masks here is a fairly recent innovation. The purpose of the drones was to aid the police in finding people out and about who should not have been. As a stand alone aid, such use raises questions in my mind. Then, it was likely as well researched and planned as numerous other regulations in Vic., have been

      10

    • #
      Lucky

      Unfortunately, yes, there are many who like being given orders.
      Those who do not like orders are described as ‘selfish’.

      Further, there is one person DAndrews respects- CCP Pres Xi. In China they use drones with advanced face recognition. Keep the scare going and the next step will be Chinese drones doing the arrests.

      20