IIT Madras researchers develop database on coronaviruses

Ab-CoV has detailed information about all COVID-related antibodies identified so far

Published - March 20, 2023 08:48 pm IST - CHENNAI

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras have developed an online open-source database on coronaviruses’ neutralising antibodies.

The database “Ab-CoV” has detailed information about all COVID-related antibodies identified so far, including the source of each antibody, the viral proteins and strains they recognise. Ab-CoV database includes 1,780 coronavirus-related antibodies and can help develop drugs against new variants of SARS-CoV-2, the researchers said and added that the emergence of new variants prompted them to gather comprehensive information.

Their work was published in the peer-reviewed journal Bioinformatics. 

M. Michael Gromiha, faculty in the Biotechnology department of the Institute said: “Some of the data in the Ab-CoV database has been used to understand the relationship between structural features and binding affinities of spike protein-antibody complexes as well as antibody repurposing.” Ab-CoV has a range of search and display options that allow users to directly search and download processed data, based on the antibody’s name, viral protein epitope, neutralised viral strain, antibody and nanobody. It allows for viewing structures of antibodies or viral proteins in 3D model.

Researchers can access information about antibody engineering; analysing immune escape for known and future variants of SARS-CoV-2; computational studies on neutralising antibodies; and relating structural features with binding affinity.

Vani Janakiraman, faculty and one of the researchers, said Ab-CoV contained information about the coronavirus family such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) viruses. The repository would aid in comparative studies among different neutralising antibodies across coronaviruses, assess their properties and interaction patterns with epitopes on the native and mutant viral proteins. The effort would help gauge the efficacy of these antibodies towards existing and emerging viral variants, she said.

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