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The development of countermeasures to prevent and treat COVID-19 is a global health priority. In under 7 weeks, we enrolled a cohort of SARS-CoV-2-recovered participants, developed neutralization assays to interrogate serum and monoclonal antibody responses, adapted our high throughput antibody isolation, production and characterization pipeline to rapidly screen over 1000 antigen-specific antibodies, and established an animal model to test protection. We report multiple highly potent neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) and show that passive transfer of a nAb provides protection against high-dose SARS-CoV-2 challenge in Syrian hamsters. The study suggests a role for nAbs in prophylaxis, and potentially therapy, of COVID-19. The nAbs define protective epitopes to guide vaccine design. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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