Monday, 18 October, 2021

Fifi the llama’s antibodies might hold the key to a COVID cure


“We believe the unique structure and strength of the nanobodies contribute to their significant potential for both the prevention and treatment of Covid-19 and look forward to working collaboratively to progress this work into clinical studies.”

Llamas are regularly used in antibody research.

Llamas are regularly used in antibody research. Credit:Getty

Professor Ray Owens, the head of protein production at the Rosalind Franklin Institute, and lead author of the research, said: “Nanobodies have a number of advantages over human antibodies. They are cheaper to produce and can be delivered directly to the airways through a nebuliser or nasal spray, so can be self-administered at home rather than needing an injection.

“This could have benefits in terms of ease of use by patients, but it also gets the treatment directly to the site of infection in the respiratory tract.”

Professor James Naismith, the director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute, who helped lead the research, said: “Having medications that can treat the virus is still going to be very important, particularly as not all of the world is being vaccinated at the same speed and there remains a risk of new variants capable of bypassing vaccine immunity emerging.”

The research, produced in association with Oxford University, appears in the journal Nature Communication.

The Telegraph, London

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