As SARS-CoV-2 Omicron and other variants of concern (VOCs) continue spreading worldwide, development of antibodies and vaccines to confer broad and protective activity is a global priority. Here, we report on the identification of a special group of nanobodies from immunized alpaca with potency against diverse VOCs including Omicron subvariants BA.1, BA.2 and BA.4/5, SARS-CoV-1, and major sarbecoviruses. Crystal structure analysis of one representative nanobody, 3-2A2-4, discovers a highly conserved epitope located between the cryptic and the outer face of the receptor binding domain (RBD), distinctive from the receptor ACE2 binding site. Cryo-EM and biochemical evaluation reveal that 3-2A2-4 interferes structural alteration of RBD required for ACE2 binding. Passive delivery of 3-2A2-4 protects K18-hACE2 mice from infection of authentic SARS-CoV-2 Delta and Omicron. Identification of these unique nanobodies will inform the development of next generation antibody therapies and design of pan-sarbecovirus vaccines.

Fuente: Nature Communications

Published: 27 December 2022