The fast emergence of many SARS-CoV-2 variants calls for the urgent need for potent and broad-spectrum anti-COVID-19 therapeutics. Compared to small-molecule antiviral drugs, nanobodies are particularly powerful in battling SARS-CoV-2 variants because they can be quickly adapted to new viral variants.
Moreover, other pathogenic viruses also demonstrate pandemic potential, such as Ebola, Lassa and Zika viruses. These RNA viruses all contain a surface glycoprotein (a molecule comprised of protein and carbohydrate chains) that mediates virus entry into host cells; thus, the viral glycoprotein serves as a critical therapeutic target.
Project 2 proposes to develop highly effective nanobodies as novel inhibitors to block the viral entry of these pandemic viruses. In our prior studies, we have developed several potent nanobodies, including a series of anti-SARS-CoV-2 candidate drugs named Nanosota-1.
We have established a camelid nanobody phage display for screening. Nanobodies with high potency, good stability, low production costs, minimal side effects, and a broad antiviral spectrum can be developed as novel antiviral therapeutics.