Potential for a Plant-Made SARS-CoV-2 Neutralizing Monoclonal Antibody as a Synergetic Cocktail Component

Collin Jugler, Haiyan Sun, Francisca Grill, Karen Kibler, Adrian Esqueda, Huafang Lai, Yize Li, Douglas Lake, Qiang Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused a public health crisis over the last two years. Monoclonal antibody (mAb)-based therapeutics against the spike (S) protein have been shown to be effective treatments for SARS-CoV-2 infection, especially the original viral strain. However, the current mAbs produced in mammalian cells are expensive and might be unaffordable for many. Furthermore, the emergence of variants of concern demands the development of strategies to prevent mutant escape from mAb treatment. Using a cocktail of mAbs that bind to complementary neutralizing epitopes is one such strategy. In this study, we use Nicotiana benthamiana plants in an effort to expedite the development of efficacious and affordable antibody cocktails against SARS-CoV-2. We show that two mAbs can be highly expressed in plants and are correctly assembled into IgG molecules. Moreover, they retain target epitope recognition and, more importantly, neutralize multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants. We also show that one plant-made mAb has neutralizing synergy with other mAbs that we developed in hybridomas. This is the first report of a plant-made mAb to be assessed as a potential component of a SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing cocktail. This work may offer a strategy for using plants to quickly develop mAb cocktail-based therapeutics against emerging viral diseases with high efficacy and low costs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number772
JournalVaccines
Volume10
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2022

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • antibody cocktail
  • monoclonal antibody (mAb)
  • neutralization synergy
  • plant-made antibody
  • plant-made pharmaceutical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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