Nanobody-based targeted therapy to combat zoonotic viral infections
2020 - 2024
Group and collaboration
Dr. S. Oliveira, Pharmaceutics Division, Dept. of Pharmaceutical Sciences & Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Biophysics, Dept. of Biology, Faculty of Science, Utrecht University
Dr. P.M.P. van Bergen en Henegouwen, Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Biophysics, Dept. of Biology, Faculty of Science, Utrecht University
Dr. C.A.M. de Haan, Virology, Department of Infectious diseases and Immunology, Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University
Dr. ir. B.J. Bosch, Virology, Department of Infectious diseases and Immunology, Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University
PhD student: Iris Swart
Our lives have changed drastically since COVID-19 emerged. It is highly likely that zoonotic events will give rise to more epidemics and pandemics in the future. To combat emerging viruses we are in need of broadly reactive anti-virals and vaccines. Nanobodies are interesting therapeutic targets in this fight as they possess numerous advantageous properties as compared with conventual antibodies, such as their small size, high thermo and chemo-stability, cost-effective production and easy optimisation into multivalent forms. This project aims to generate nanobodies targeting both unique and conserved epitopes on viral proteins from betacoronaviruses and influenza A viruses. After thorough characterisation of their binding properties, these antiviral nanobodies will be explored for application in diagnosis, protection and treatment of viral infection of both men and animals.
Tasks / Deliverables
Development, characterisation and subsequent testing and optimisation of nanobodies binding cross-reactive betacoronaviruses and influenza A viruses.
PhD student interview
Iris Swart’s research focusses on llama-derived nanobodies – no, really. Specifically cross-reactive nanobodies, that target multiple viruses. They could be important to help make the world more pandemic-prepared.