UCSF

‘AeroNabs’ promise powerful, inhalable protection against COVID-19

As COVID-19 hit and UCSF labs shut down, the Manglik and Walter labs got to work using nanobodies (camelid-derived antibodies) to counter the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Biophysics student Bryan Faust is one of the co-first authors on the resulting study. Bryan and other Manglik lab members are also part of the larger QBI Coronavirus Research Group Structural Biology Consortium, which knits together UCSF structural biology labs and determined the X-ray and CryoEM structures that revealed the basis for the potency of the nanobodies in atomic detail. The resulting preprint represents an enormous team effort spanning our shelter-in-place order to our new normal and demonstrates that the nanobodies are highly expressed, are extremely stable, and can neutralize SARS-CoV-2 in cell culture.

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An ultra-high affinity synthetic nanobody blocks SARS-CoV-2 infection by locking Spike into an inactive conformation (bioRxiv)

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About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy aims to solve the most pressing health care problems and strives to ensure that each patient receives the safest, most effective treatments. Our discoveries seed the development of novel therapies, and our researchers consistently lead the nation in NIH funding. The School’s doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree program, with its unique emphasis on scientific thinking, prepares students to be critical thinkers and leaders in their field.