[imagesource: Cavan Images | Cavan | Getty Images]
Let’s be brutally honest, here – that face above doesn’t exactly scream ‘lifesaver’.
I love a good llama as much as the next person, but there is a rather comical element to the South American animal.
Enter a massive plot twist, in the form of a new study that suggests llama blood could hold the key to saving the lives of patients who are seriously ill with coronavirus.
Here’s the Telegraph:
Researchers led by Oxford University have used repurposed antibodies taken from the South American camelids to fight the virus in laboratory trials.
Doctors are already using antibodies derived from humans who have survived coronavirus, but the new findings herald the prospect of a more potent and easily available treatment.
Llamas, camels and alpacas naturally produce quantities of small antibodies with a simple structure, meaning they can be turned into nanobodies… [which] bind tightly to the spike protein of the Sars-CoV-2 virus, blocking it from entering human cells and stopping infection.
The study has been published in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, and James Naismith, who was involved, says the nanobodies could stop the progression of the virus in patients who are ill.
Next up is testing the breakthrough in pre-clinical trials, although first, researchers are assessing results of antibodies taken from Fifi, a llama based at the University of Reading.
The BBC breaks the process down as follows:
All hail the mighty llama.
Never again shall I mock your appearance.
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