COVID-19 Treatment: Scientists look to a llama for antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 virus

COVID-19 Treatment: Scientists look to a llama for antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 virus

The researchers chose the llama, as the animal and other animals of the camel family produce standard and smaller antibodies, which help the researchers study them better.

NEW DELHI: As scientists and researchers all over the world try to find effective treatments against the novel coronavirus, the U.S. And Belgian scientists have identified a llama called Winter, who could prove useful in the hunt. 

The research was conducted by scientists from Belgium's VIB-UGent centre for medical biotechnology, and University of Texas, Austin. The findings were published in the journal Cell, with the llama in Belgium being central to the studies. 

Researchers had started looking into antibodies against the SARS and MERS Virus, about four years ago. The SARS virus was responsible for the viral outbreak in 2003, and the MERS that flared up in 2012. 

“The work was a side project in 2016. We thought maybe this was interesting,” said Xavier Saelens, joint leader of the Belgian part of the collaboration. “Then the new virus came and it became potentially more crucial, more important.”, reported Reuters. 
For the study, the llama was given safe versions of both the viruses and samples of its blood were taken later. The idea behind choosing a llama was that the animal, along with other members of the camel family are distinct in creating standard and smaller antibodies, which help scientists work more easily. 

The Belgian part of the research was led by Bert Schepens. This part of the study identified fragments of smaller antibodies, known as nanobodies. These can bound more strongly with the virus. 
The novel coronavirus has been found to have a 60-70 per cent similarity in structure to the SARS virus. More than 3.6 million people have been infected with the novel coronavirus, and about 2,57,000 people have lost their lives till now.

1 comment:

  1. 1 L Lama = holy man
    2 L Llama = animal
    3 L ama = big fire


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