Development and characterization of a severe acute respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus-neutralizing human monoclonal antibody that provides effective immunoprophylaxis in mice

J Infect Dis. 2005 Feb 15;191(4):507-14. doi: 10.1086/427242. Epub 2005 Jan 14.


Background: Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) remains a significant public health concern after the epidemic in 2003. Human monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) that neutralize SARS-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) could provide protection for exposed individuals.

Methods: Transgenic mice with human immunoglobulin genes were immunized with the recombinant major surface (S) glycoprotein ectodomain of SARS-CoV. Epitopes of 2 neutralizing MAbs derived from these mice were mapped and evaluated in a murine model of SARS-CoV infection.

Results: Both MAbs bound to S glycoprotein expressed on transfected cells but differed in their ability to block binding of S glycoprotein to Vero E6 cells. Immunoprecipitation analysis revealed 2 antibody-binding epitopes: one MAb (201) bound within the receptor-binding domain at aa 490-510, and the other MAb (68) bound externally to the domain at aa 130-150. Mice that received 40 mg/kg of either MAb prior to challenge with SARS-CoV were completely protected from virus replication in the lungs, and doses as low as 1.6 mg/kg offered significant protection.

Conclusions: Two neutralizing epitopes were defined for MAbs to SARS-CoV S glycoprotein. Antibodies to both epitopes protected mice against SARS-CoV challenge. Clinical trials are planned to test MAb 201, a fully human MAb specific for the epitope within the receptor-binding region.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Antibodies, Viral / therapeutic use*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Epitope Mapping
  • Epitopes / immunology
  • Female
  • Immunization, Passive*
  • Lung / virology
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neutralization Tests
  • Protein Binding
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / prevention & control*
  • Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus / immunology*
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Epitopes
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
  • Viral Envelope Proteins