Potent Neutralization of Omicron and other SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Concern by Biparatopic Human VH Domains

Publication: bioRxiv


The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) requires the development of next-generation biologics that are effective against a variety of strains of the virus. Herein, we characterize a human VH domain, F6, which we generated by sequentially panning large phage displayed VH libraries against receptor binding domains (RBDs) containing VOC mutations. Cryo-EM analyses reveal that F6 has a unique binding mode that spans a broad surface of the RBD and involves the antibody framework region. Attachment of an Fc region to a fusion of F6 and ab8, a previously characterized VH domain, resulted in a construct (F6-ab8-Fc) that neutralized Omicron pseudoviruses with a half-maximal neutralizing concentration (IC50) of 4.8  nM in vitro. Additionally, prophylactic treatment using F6-ab8-Fc reduced live Beta (B.1.351) variant viral titers in the lungs of a mouse model. Our results provide a new potential therapeutic against SARS-CoV-2 VOCs – including the recently emerged Omicron variant – and highlight a vulnerable epitope within the spike protein RBD that may be exploited to achieve broad protection against circulating variants.
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