Llamas and the coronavirus – level 3
Llama antibodies can soon be playing a role in the global fight against COVID-19 if clinical trials live up to their early promise. The trials are being conducted by a Belgian biomedical start-up.
Researchers from the Flemish Institute for Biotechnology and Ghent University Center for Medical Biotechnology are saying that antibodies from a llama named Winter have blunted the coronavirus infections in lab testing. The technology wouldn´t be used to replace vaccines but rather to add to them, helping to protect people with weaker immune systems and those hospitalized by the virus.
Llamas have a particular kind of antibody called heavy chain antibody, and they´re much simpler than the ones that humans have. Due to this, scientists can easily take a little snippet of the protein and glue it to other proteins. Early studies showed effectiveness against several variants of the disease, including the highly infectious delta variant.
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