The human infectious disease COVID-19 caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus has become a major threat to global public health. Developing a vaccine is the preferred prophylactic response to epidemics and pandemics. However, for individuals who have contracted the disease, the rapid design of antibodies that can target the SARS-CoV-2 virus fulfils a critical need. Further, discovering antibodies that bind multiple variants of SARS-CoV-2 can aid in the development of rapid antigen tests (RATs) which are critical for the identification and isolation of individuals currently carrying COVID-19. Here we provide a proof-of-concept study for the computational design of high-affinity antibodies that bind to multiple variants of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein using RosettaAntibodyDesign (RAbD). Well characterized antibodies that bind with high affinity to the SARS-CoV-1 (but not SARS-CoV-2) spike protein were used as templates and re-designed to bind the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein with high affinity, resulting in a specificity switch. A panel of designed antibodies were experimentally validated. One design bound to a broad range of variants of concern including the Omicron, Delta, Wuhan, and South African spike protein variants.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Computational antibody design
- Coronavirus Disease 2019
- Monoclonal antibody therapeutics
- Protein engineering