The world struggled to understand how COVID-19 spread during the pandemic’s first four months, but genetic sequences of the coronavirus reported by laboratories tell the real story—when the virus arrived in each place and where it came from. The sequences, which advance from left to right in the graphic, show that the virus jumped from an animal to humans in China, humans transmitted it to one another within China, then people traveling from there spread it globally person to person. The virus had not mutated significantly as of March 31, 2020; human contact created the pandemic, not a wildly evolving pathogen. Mapping the spread also substantiates actions that could have best mitigated it: faster, wider testing in China; earlier, stricter global travel bans and isolation of infected people; and more immediate social distancing worldwide.
Study Identifies Potential Therapeutic COVID-19 Antibody
An antibody isolated from a patient who recovered from severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003 could be a potential therapeutic COVID-19 antibody, according to a study recently published in Nature.The study, entitled “Cross-neutralization of SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV2 by a human monoclonal antibody,” explains the identification and characterization of the antibody categorized as S309. The study was conducted by researchers at Vir Biotechnology, Inc., clinical-stage immunology company developing therapeutics for COVID-19.“Remarkably, we believe S309 likely covers the entire family of related coronaviruses, which suggests that, even as SARS-CoV-2 continues to evolve, it may be quite challenging for it to become resistant to the neutralizing activity of S309,” Herbert “Skip” Virgin, MD, PhD, chief scientific officer at Vir, said in an announcement.