Llama antibodies could help combat Covid-19

Updated: Jul 8, 2020

Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin, USA, have found that antibodies taken from a llama are some of the first to neutralise the coronavirus.

They discovered that two copies of an antibody produced by llamas bind tightly to a protein, called the spike protein, on the coronavirus. This prevents the spike protein from performing its normal function, which is to break into host cells.

“The antibodies could also be used to treat somebody who is already sick to lessen the severity of the disease,” said co-author of the study Professor Jason McLellan in the Daily Mail.

The work was done in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health, USA, and EARA member Ghent University, Belgium. Now the group intends to conduct preclinical research in animals such as monkeys or hamsters before moving onto human clinical trials.

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