Llama antibodies have great potential in the fight against COVID-19

A treatment consisting of “nanobodies,” small, simpler versions of antibodies, naturally
produced by llamas in response to infection have great potential in the treatment of COVID-

In a study published in Nature Communications, the scientists vaccinated llamas with a non-infectious part of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, stimulating their immune system to make special molecules called nanobodies. The scientists then carefully selected and purified the mosteffective nanobodies from a blood sample taken from a llama and were able to grow large amounts of these nanobodies.

Moreover, rodents infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus treated with this nanobody administered as a nasal spray, fully recovered within six days. Therefore, after the therapy is tested on humans, it could be applied to treat, but also prevent infection, in the form of a simple nasal spray.

Nanobodies have a number of advantages over human antibodies, explained Professor Ray Owens, corresponding author of a study published on September 22, 2021, in Nature Communications. Nanobodies are cheaper and easier to produce and administer than human antibodies. Namely, human antibodies taken from patients recovering from Covid-19 have so far represented a key strategy in the treatment of severe forms of COVID-19. However, human antibodies need to be given through a needle in a hospital.

On the other hand, nanobodies can be delivered directly to the airways via a nebulizer or nasal spray andcan therefore be self-administered at home.

This method of administration has a great advantage over the administration of drugs with a needle, since it does not require hospitalization. An additional advantage is that the drug is applied directly to the site of infection, in the respiratory system, and can also be used to prevent infection.



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