What are Monoclonal Antibodies?

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What are Monoclonal Antibodies? Blog Image


India recently reached out to Australia seeking to restock monoclonal antibody doses to combat the Nipah virus.

About Monoclonal Antibodies

  • Monoclonal antibodies (also called moAbs or mAbs) are proteins made in laboratories that act like proteins called antibodies in our bodies.
  • Antibodies are parts of our immune system. They seek out the antigens (foreign materials) and stick to them in order to destroy them.
  • The word “monoclonal” refers to the fact thatthe antibodies created in the laboratory are clones. They are exact copies of one antibody.
  • Production:
  • They are produced by cloning a single type of immune cell, known as a B cell, to generate large quantities of identical antibodies.
  • This process creates highly specific antibodies that target a particular antigen, which could be a virus, bacteria, cancer cell, or other disease-related molecule.
  • Specificity: They can be designed to recognize and bind to a particular target molecule with great precision. This specificity reduces the risk of unintended side effects.
  • They are used in a variety of medical applications, including the treatment of cancer, autoimmune diseases, and infectious diseases.
  • Monoclonal antibodies vs. Polyclonal antibodies:
  • Monoclonal antibodies are clones of just one antibody, and they bind to one antigen only.
  • Polyclonal antibodies come from several different types of immune cells and will bind to more than one antigen.

What is Nipah virus?

  • Nipah virus infection is a zoonotic illness that is transmitted from animals to humans.
  • The organism which causes Nipah Virus encephalitis is an RNA or Ribonucleic acid virus of the family Paramyxoviridae, genus Henipavirus, and is closely related to Hendra virus.
  • It was first broke out in Malaysia and Singapore in 1998 and 1999.
  • It first appeared in domestic pigs and has been found among several species of domestic animals, including dogs, cats, goats, horses and sheep.
  • Transmission:
  • The disease spreads through fruit bats, or ‘flying foxes,’ of the genus Pteropus, who are natural reservoir hosts of the Nipah and Hendra viruses.
  • The virus is present in bat urineand, potentially, bat faeces, saliva, and birthing fluids. 
  • Symptoms: Typically, the human infection presents as an encephalitic syndrome marked by fever, headache, drowsiness, disorientation, mental confusion, coma, and potentially death.
  • Mortality Rate: 40% to 70%
  • Treatment: There is no definitive treatment available for the virus.

Q1: What are Proteins?

Proteins are large, complex molecules that play many critical roles in the body. They do most of the work in cells and are required for the structure, function, and regulation of the body’s tissues and organs. Proteins are made up of hundreds or thousands of smaller units called amino acids, which are attached to one another in long chains. There are 20 different types of amino acids that can be combined to make a protein. The sequence of amino acids determines each protein’s unique 3-dimensional structure and its specific function. Amino acids are coded by combinations of three DNA building blocks (nucleotides), determined by the sequence of genes. 

Source: India ups Nipah surveillance, reaches out to Australia for monoclonal antibody dose