Tackling COVID-19 with neutralizing monoclonal antibodies

Cell. 2021 Jun 10;184(12):3086-3108. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2021.05.005. Epub 2021 May 26.


Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) have revolutionized the treatment of several human diseases, including cancer and autoimmunity and inflammatory conditions, and represent a new frontier for the treatment of infectious diseases. In the last 20 years, innovative methods have allowed the rapid isolation of mAbs from convalescent subjects, humanized mice, or libraries assembled in vitro and have proven that mAbs can be effective countermeasures against emerging pathogens. During the past year, an unprecedentedly large number of mAbs have been developed to fight coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Lessons learned from this pandemic will pave the way for the development of more mAb-based therapeutics for other infectious diseases. Here, we provide an overview of SARS-CoV-2-neutralizing mAbs, including their origin, specificity, structure, antiviral and immunological mechanisms of action, and resistance to circulating variants, as well as a snapshot of the clinical trials of approved or late-stage mAb therapeutics.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; monoclonal antibody; neutralization; therapeutics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 / chemistry
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 / immunology
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / chemistry
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing / chemistry
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing / immunology*
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Viral / chemistry
  • Antibodies, Viral / immunology
  • Antibodies, Viral / therapeutic use
  • COVID-19 / pathology
  • COVID-19 / virology
  • COVID-19 Drug Treatment
  • Humans
  • SARS-CoV-2 / immunology*
  • SARS-CoV-2 / isolation & purification
  • SARS-CoV-2 / metabolism
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus / immunology


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
  • spike protein, SARS-CoV-2
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2