Shark proteins neutralize coronavirus – study — Analysis

New research has revealed that VNARs, which are antibody-like proteins, could neutralize Covid viruses. It is a breakthrough that may lead to the discovery of new cures for coronaviruses.

A study that was published in December 16 claimed shark VNARs had been able to eliminate WIV1CoV (coronavirus which is capable of infecting human beings). This particular coronavirus strain is found only in bats and was the source of the Covid-19 virus.   

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VNARs may not immediately be available for treatment during this pandemic. However, scientists believe that knowing that shark-derived protein can counter coronaviruses could aid in developing treatments and preventive medicines to combat future outbreaks.

“The big issue is there are a number of coronaviruses that are poised for emergence in humans,” Aaron LeBeau, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of pathology who helped lead the study, said in a statement, adding that the development of treatment for such zoological diseases before they make the jump to humans could prove useful.

“What we’re doing is preparing an arsenal of shark VNAR therapeutics that could be used down the road for future SARS [Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome] outbreaks. It’s a kind of insurance against the future,”He concluded.

Shark VNARs are one-tenth as large as human antibodies and can be used to block infection. “These small antibody-like proteins can get into nooks and crannies that human antibodies cannot access,”LeBeau stated that VNARs can see structures that are pathogenic, which is something that antibodies cannot.

LeBeau’s study is not the first one to note the potential neutralizing impact of VNARs for coronavirus. In-vitro studies citing VNARs’ ability to combat deadly Covid-19 were cited by a UK study that was published June 2021.



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