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Interviewer: Professor Diamond, Thank you for taking the time today to do this interview on
testing SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibody efficacy.
Could you please summarize what SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibodies are,
and why they are important in the treatment of COVID 19?
Prof. Diamond: Monoclonal antibodies are something that's derived in the laboratory.
When people get infected or people get vaccinated with SARS-CoV-2,
they generate a whole large suite of antibodies,
thousands of different kinds of antibodies with different specificities.
In the laboratory we're able to recover these on an individual basis, using
specialized techniques, so you can identify single antibodies.
What many have done in the field, including academics and pharmaceutical companies,
is to identify single antibodies that people make
which have particular properties that are most favorable;
in this case, the ability to bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike,
neutralize the spike, prevent infection, and protect against infection.
These monoclonal antibodies are not only useful tools in the laboratory,
but then become the basis for therapies, such as the ones that have
reached emergency use authorization through companies like Regeneron, Lilly, and Vir.
Interviewer: What work is being done in your lab to test the efficacy of these monoclonal antibodies?
Prof. Diamond: We have a couple of different types of experiments that we do.
The first thing we want to find out is: these antibodies that are either
available in laboratories, or the ones that are being used in patients right now,
how do they behave and hold up against the new variants that have
been emerging, the alpha, beta and delta variants?