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  • Ryan Wittler

Llama Antibodies May Help Fight COVID

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Researchers at the VIB-UGent Center for Medical Biotechnology in Belgium say lab testing involving antibodies collected from a llama named Winter helped ease the severity of coronavirus infections, including variants.

Winter’s goods:

According to the lead researcher on the project, Winter, along with all llamas and members of the camel family, produce “versions of conventional antibodies that are smaller, more stable, easier to reproduce, and more versatile than those of other mammals.”

Due to their unusually small size, the llamabodies (you heard it here first) are able to reach targets conventional antibodies cannot. In the case of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), the researchers called the antibodies a potential “game-changer” since they’re able to bind to specific parts of the virus’s spike protein without causing new mutations (i.e., create new variants).

Why it matters:

The llamabody (we’ll never stop) technology would be used to supplement rather than replace vaccines, likely only going to people with weakened immune systems or those already infected.

According to the researchers, the results are especially promising as they also showed “strong neutralization activity” against the Delta variant.

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