The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated that monoclonal antibodies can be deployed faster than antimicrobials and vaccines. However, the majority of mAbs treat cancer and autoimmune diseases, whereas a minority treat infection. This is in part because targeting a single antigen by the antibody Fab domain is insufficient to stop the dynamic microbial life cycle. Thus, finding the ‘right’ antigens remains the focus of intense investigations. Equally important is the antibody-Fc domain that has the capacity to induce immune responses that enhance neutralization, and limit pathology and transmission. While Fc-effector functions have been less deeply studied, conceptual and technical advances reveal previously underappreciated antibody potential to combat diseases from microbes difficult to address with current diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines, including S. aureus, P. aeruginosa, P. falciparum, and M. tuberculosis. What is learned about engineering antibodies for these challenging organisms will enhance our approach to new and emerging infectious diseases.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering