What is it about?

We have analysed a series of nanobodies that bind to the Spike protein of SARS-Covid-19. The nanobodies have a range of binding strengths and came from the lab, not the llama. Our study shows that it is possible to use experimental data from EM to inform computational design of nanobodies.

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Why is it important?

SARS-Covid-19 has changed the world and it is clear now the risk of such a pandemic; even if not highly fatal in and of itself, it can overwhelm the health care systems. Lab based methods are quick enough to the 100 days challenge. However lab based methods typically do not bind very tightly. This study shows how structural biology and computational approaches can quickly improve binding.


This emerged from our lockdown work. It is (in my mind) an extremely comprehensive study. I found is surprising that conventional structural analysis could not rationalise affinity. Only the calculations from the Vendruscolo lab could and more importantly they were predictive.

James Naismith
Rosalind Franklin Institute

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Correlation between the binding affinity and the conformational entropy of nanobody SARS-CoV-2 spike protein complexes, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, July 2022, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2205412119.
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