Single-Domain Antibodies as Therapeutics for Respiratory RNA Virus Infections

Viruses. 2022 May 27;14(6):1162. doi: 10.3390/v14061162.


Over the years, infectious diseases with high morbidity and mortality disrupted human healthcare systems and devastated economies globally. Respiratory viruses, especially emerging or re-emerging RNA viruses, including influenza and human coronavirus, are the main pathogens of acute respiratory diseases that cause epidemics or even global pandemics. Importantly, due to the rapid mutation of viruses, there are few effective drugs and vaccines for the treatment and prevention of these RNA virus infections. Of note, a class of antibodies derived from camelid and shark, named nanobody or single-domain antibody (sdAb), was characterized by smaller size, lower production costs, more accessible binding epitopes, and inhalable properties, which have advantages in the treatment of respiratory diseases compared to conventional antibodies. Currently, a number of sdAbs have been developed against various respiratory RNA viruses and demonstrated potent therapeutic efficacy in mouse models. Here, we review the current status of the development of antiviral sdAb and discuss their potential as therapeutics for respiratory RNA viral diseases.

Keywords: antiviral therapeutics; inhalable property; nanobody; respiratory RNA virus; single-domain antibody.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Influenza, Human*
  • Mice
  • Pandemics
  • RNA Virus Infections* / drug therapy
  • Single-Domain Antibodies* / chemistry


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Single-Domain Antibodies

Grants and funding

This work was supported by grants from the National Key R & D Program of China (2019YFA0904400), National Natural Science Foundation of China (81902108), Shanghai Municipal Education Commission “Chenguang program” (C620297), and Shanghai Municipal Health Commission (GWV-10.2-XD01, GWV-10.2-YQ06).