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Building an ACE2 Receptor Trap for Pandemic Pathogens

Credit: NIAID

Researchers led by the University of California, San Francisco and the University of Alberta, Edmonton have engineered angiotensin-converting enzyme II (ACE2) receptor traps which neutralize authentic SARS-CoV-2 infections as effectively as high-affinity antibodies isolated from convalescent patients and also bind viral spike proteins from other coronaviruses known to cause respiratory diseases.

The ACE2 receptor traps have large binding interfaces and block the entire receptor binding interface, limiting the potential impact of viral escape mutations.

The systematic two-pronged affinity optimization approach for engineering ACE2 receptor traps was achieved by a small team in several months, which is comparable with antibody isolation from convalescent patients or selection by in vitro methods. This represents a rapid and orthogonal approach to generating therapeutic candidates for treating future viral pandemics.

Engineered ACE2 receptor traps potently neutralize SARS-CoV-2. PNAS, October 22, 2020.

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