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The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has created a worldwide crisis and inspired an urgent search for prevention and treatment of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. Attention has focused on the development of vaccines, new antiviral agents, and convalescent plasma infusions. Monoclonal antibodies have received less attention even though neutralizing antibodies are a key component of protective immunity for most viral diseases. Neutralizing monoclonal antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 have the potential for both therapeutic and prophylactic applications, and can help to guide vaccine design and development.1
Since the identification of SARS-CoV-2 as the causative agent of COVID-19, numerous research groups have isolated monoclonal antibodies (most often from the B cells of patients who have recently recovered from SARS-CoV-2, and in some cases from individuals who were infected with the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus [SARS-CoV] in 2003). It is also possible to generate effective monoclonal antibodies by immunization of humanized mice. Modern methods allow the rapid identification of pathogen-specific B cells and recovery of immunoglobulin heavy chain and light chain genes that can be expressed to produce monoclonal antibodies, usually in the form of IgG.
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Marovich M, Mascola JR, Cohen MS. Monoclonal Antibodies for Prevention and Treatment of COVID-19. JAMA. 2020;324(2):131–132. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.10245
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