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Chinese scientists have isolated several antibodies that they say are “extremely effective” at blocking the ability of the new coronavirus to enter cells. Their discovery could eventually be helpful in treating or preventing COVID-19.

Zhang Linqi and his team in Beijing say a drug made with antibodies could be more effective than current approaches like plasma therapy. The team began analyzing antibodies in January using blood taken from recovered COVID-19 patients.

Scientists are now focused on identifying and possibly combining the most powerful antibodies to mitigate the risk of the virus mutating. This means the antibodies are not a vaccine but could potentially be given to at-risk people to prevent them from contracting COVID-19.

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