An antibody component that is the “smallest biological molecule” has been discovered by a team of scientists at the Pittsburgh School of Medicine. It has proven highly effective in treating and preventing the CCP Virus (coronavirus) so far in animal testing.

The antibody component is 10 times smaller than a full-sized antibody, and a drug known as Ab8 has been formulated from it.

So far, it has successfully been tested on mice and hamsters, and its tiny size has many advantages, namely, it doesn’t bind to human cells. A promising sign that humans will not experience adverse side effects from the drug reported Pittwire.

Its tiny size also increases the potential for diffusion into tissues, making it more effective. And it has the possibility to be used as an inhalant.

“Ab8 not only has potential as therapy for COVID-19 [CCP Virus], but it also could be used to keep people from getting SARS-CoV-2 infections,” said co-author John Mellors, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Pitt and UPMC.

“Antibodies of larger size have worked against other infectious diseases and have been well-tolerated, giving us hope that it could be an effective treatment for patients with COVID-19 and for protection of those who have never had the infection and are not immune,” he said.

According to the report, the team at the University of Texas Medical Branch Center for Biodefense and Emerging Diseases and Galveston National Laboratory tested Ab8 and found it blocked the virus from entering cells.

In mice trials, those treated with Ab8 had tenfold less infectious virus than those untreated, reported the New York Post.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is a global challenge facing humanity, but biomedical science and human ingenuity are likely to overcome it,” said Mellors, also distinguished professor of medicine, who holds the endowed chair for Global Elimination of HIV and AIDS at Pitt.

“We hope that the antibodies we have discovered will contribute to that triumph,” he said.

Abound Bio, a newly formed University of Pittsburgh Medical Center backed company, has licensed Ab8 for worldwide development.