02:33 GMT22 September 2020
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    New research published Monday in the journal Nature has identified eight antibodies that can bind to the COVID-19 coronavirus and prevent its spread.

    The study was based on research that had previously isolated antibodies from a severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) patient in 2003. 

    SARS is also a respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus. It was first reported in Asia back in 2002 and spread to 37 countries around the world, infecting more than 8,000 people and killing 774 before being contained in 2003.

    One of the SARS antibodies isolated by the researchers, known as S309, appears to have “particularly strong neutralizing activity” against COVID-19 as well, the scientists said. 

    In this most recent study, researchers combined S309 with other antibodies to reduce the ability of  SARS-CoV-2 - the virus that causes COVID-19 - to mutate.

    Although the researchers didn’t test their theory on humans, they believe their findings suggest that SARS antibodies can also be used to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

    "These results pave the way for using S309 and S309-containing antibody cocktails for prophylaxis in individuals at high risk of exposure or as a post-exposure therapy to limit or treat severe disease," the researchers wrote. Prophylaxis refers to an action taken to prevent a disease.

    The biotech company Moderna on Monday also reported “positive” data regarding its potential COVID-19 vaccine, known as mRNA-1273. Moderna said that data from the first phase of a clinical trial showed that patients given the vaccine developed an immune response similar to people who acquired the novel coronavirus and recovered.

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