Nanobodies produced by Llamas could be a new powerful weapon against Covid-19

The unique antibodies derived from Llama might be the key to coronavirus treatment. According to the new study from the Rosalind Franklin Institute in Oxfordshire, these unique antibodies called “nanobodies” are naturally produced by Llamas and their camelid cousins might be helpful in the fight against the Coronavirus.

Smaller and simpler configurations of these nanobodies are the main reason behind offering an improved treatment. They can easily enter the areas where large antibodies cannot go.

However, this is not the first time that we are seeing llamas nanobodies as a way to treat humans – they are used to cure influenza viruses. Human neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 which are taken from Covid-19 recovered patients are very helpful.

Researchers after implementing animal models said that nanobodies from llama work as an alternative against Covid-19. According to them, these nanobodies can be generated using microbial systems in large quantities in the laboratory, and their manufacturing is simple as compared to that of monoclonal antibodies (which require mammalian cells). Monoclonal antibodies help cure some corona patients.

Llamas

Fifi, a llama played a major role in this research. To secure nanobodies the animal has to first be immunized against Covid-19. So, researchers injected Fifi with the part of the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 to generate nanobodies.

It is noticed that Fifi doesn’t get affected but her immune system responded against the protein. Scientists designed “triple-nanobody chains” after taking samples from llamas blood and found that they can neutralize the original virus, Alpha, and Beta variants also.

According to BioSpace, nanobodies were sprayed on Hamsters suffering from coronavirus through a nasal spray and recovered within 6 days. More research is required before practicing this method on humans.

Researchers added that Nanobody treatment is more convenient as compared to human antibody treatments. Nanobody production is also easy as compared and there is no need to store them in a cool place.

Dr. Andrew Bourne, Director of Partnerships at EPSRC, said;

“Utilising the unique properties of llamas’ nanobodies, this research could lead to an important new form of treatment for Covid-19 that is cheaper to produce and easier to administer.

“It is a vivid illustration of the impact that long-term discovery research at the cutting edge of physical and life sciences, as undertaken at the Rosalind Franklin Institute, can have.”

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