What’s in News?

  • Researchers have identified and further developed novel antibody fragments against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

What are nanobodies?

  • Nanobodies are a novel class of proprietary therapeutic proteins based on single-domain antibody fragments that contain the unique structural and functional properties of naturally-occurring heavy chain only antibodies.
  • It is an antibody fragment consisting of a single monomeric variable antibody domain. Like a whole antibody, it is able to bind selectively to a specific antigen.
  • The Nanobody technology was originally developed following the discovery and identification that camelidae (e.g. camels and llamas) possess fully functional antibodies that consist of heavy chains only and therefore lack light chains. These heavy-chain only antibodies contain a single variable domain(VHH) and two constant domains (CH2, CH3).
  • The cloned and isolated single variable domains have full antigen binding capacity and are very stable. These single variable domains, with their unique structural and functional properties, form the basis of a new generation of therapeutic molecules.
  • These peptides have similar affinity to antigens as whole antibodies, but are more heat-resistant and stable towards detergents and high concentrations of urea. Those derived from camelid and fish antibodies are less lipophilic and more soluble in water.
  • They are easily isolated using the same phage panning procedure used for traditional antibodies, allowing them to be cultured in vitro in large concentrations. The smaller size and single domain make these antibodies easier to transform into bacterial cells for bulk production, making them ideal for research purposes.
  • Due to their small size and unique structure, Nanobodies are ideal building blocks for the generation of novel biological drugs with multiple competitive advantages over other therapeutic molecules.
  • Single-domain antibodies are being researched for multiple pharmaceutical applications and have potential for use in the treatment of acute coronary syndrome, cancer and Alzheimer's disease.

Source: The Indian Express

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