Most therapeutic mAbs target the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2. Unfortunately, the RBD is a hot spot for mutations in SARS-CoV-2 variants, which will lead to loss of the neutralizing function of current therapeutic mAbs. Universal mAbs for different variants are necessary. We identified mAbs that recognized the S2 region of the spike protein, which is identical in different variants. The mAbs could neutralize SARS-CoV-2 infection and protect animals from SARS-CoV-2 challenge. After cloning the variable region of the light chain and heavy chain, the variable region sequences were humanized to select a high-affinity humanized mAb, hMab5.17. hMab5.17 protected animals from SARS-CoV-2 challenge and neutralized SARS-CoV-2 variant infection. We further identified the linear epitope of the mAb, which is not mutated in any variant of concern. These data suggest that a mAb recognizing the S2 region of the spike protein will be a potential universal therapeutic mAb for COVID-19.
Wan-Ling Wu, Chen-Yi Chiang, Szu-Chia Lai, Chia-Yi Yu, Yu-Ling Huang, Hung-Chun Liao, Ching-Len Liao, Hsin-Wei Chen, Shih-Jen Liu