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Powerful x-ray machine finds antibody to fight coronavirus

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Scientists working with a super-powerful x-ray machine in Britain have discovered a potent antibody that could neutralise coronavirus.

Scientists working with a super-powerful x-ray machine in Britain have discovered a potent antibody that could neutralise coronavirus.

The potential breakthrough is based on the study of blood samples of people who survived the SARS virus by researchers at the Diamond Light Source in Oxfordshire, the Telegraph reports.

The novel coronavirus behind the current pandemic shares common features with the older virus, which caused an epidemic from 2002 to 2004.

When scientists studied one recovered patient they found a powerful antibody – a small molecule which sticks to a foreign invader, such as a virus, and alerts the immune system which can then fight it.

"The antibody is from an original SARS patient from 2004, and the two viruses are from the same family so are very closely related and both have the same receptor in the cells," Professor Gwyndaf Evans, the deputy life sciences director at Diamond, said.

Coronavirus gets its name from the spikes coming out of its spherical surface - just like a crown.

The scientists examined the SARS survivor to see if they had an antibody binding that could help fight the new coronavirus.

They found one that appears even better for binding to COVID-19.

"We're hoping it could become a therapy. It's not typical to use antibody therapies but it means you don't need to go through the same loopholes as normal drug production because they are already made in humans so are already biocompatible," Prof. Evans said.

The Diamond Light Source is like a giant microscope, accelerating electrons to almost light speeds so they can emit light 10 billion times brighter than the sun.

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These bright beams are then diverted to laboratories where scientists can study medicines, vaccines as well as artworks and jet engines.

In this 2003 photo, employees at the Tan Tock Seng hospital are fitted for masks that offer protection against the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus in Singapore.

The news from Diamond Light comes after an antibody test developed by Public Health England that is able to identify patients who have had coronavirus but not shown symptoms.

The UK Government's chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, said work on the antibody test is "progressing very fast".

How is coronavirus transmitted?

 The human coronavirus is only spread from someone infected with COVID-19 to another. This occurs through close contact with an infected person through contaminated droplets spread by coughing or sneezing, or by contact with contaminated hands or surfaces.

What are the symptoms of someone infected?

Coronavirus patients may experience flu like symptoms such as a fever, cough, runny nose, or shortness of breath. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia with severe acute respiratory distress.

Source: 9News

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