The result of a recent study in hamsters says that inhalable nanobodies which targeted the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus can prevent and treat severe Covid-19 cases.
Research from the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania tested the nanobodies which are similar to monoclonal antibodies but smaller in size, more stable and cheaper to produce- for inhalation treatment against coronavirus infections in a pre-clinical model.
The findings as published in the journal Science Advances show that low doses of an aerosolised nanobody protected the hamsters from drastic weight loss, which is typically associated with the Covid infection. It even reduced the infection in the nasal cavity, throat and lungs to a great extent compared to any other treatment.
Experts say that inhalation therapy directly and positively impacts the respiratory tract and lungs.
Vaccines remain the best tool to stop the virus from spreading from person to person, but nanobodies will be useful to treat people who already are sick and those who can't get vaccinated for other medical reasons.The experiment showed that PiN-21 was protective and was administered intranasally at the time of infection. The hamsters during the treatment did not lose weight.
On the other hand, the animals who received aerosolised PiN-21 nanobodies had milder changes in their lung structure.
PiN-21 nanobodies, which are approximately four times smaller than typical monoclonal antibodies with exceptionally high stability, can easily reach deep into the lungs. They are also much cheaper to produce and can be generated rapidly to swiftly adapt to the shape-shifting virus.
Researchers point out that nanobodies and vaccines are complementary and do not compete with one another. Vaccines remain the best tool to stop the virus from spreading from person to person, but nanobodies will be useful to treat people who already are sick and those who can't get vaccinated for other medical reasons.