Wally the llama may be key to treating COVID-19
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In order to create these nanobodies, researchers immunized Wally the llama with a fragment of COVID-19’s spike protein. About two months later, Wally’s immune system made mature nanobodies.
Another university researcher, Yufei Xiang, noticed the nanobodies in the llama’s bloodstream bound to the coronavirus most strongly. Scientists then exposed these nanobodies to the virus itself and noticed a fraction of a nanogram could kill enough of it to prevent one million human cells from becoming infected.
Shi stated the nanobodies can last for six weeks at room temperature and tolerate enough to be used to create an inhalable mist to deliver the therapy to the lungs. This form of treatment is a contrast to traditional antibodies that are administered via IV, which dilutes the products, needs a higher dose and hurts the wallet, the researchers stated.
“Nanobodies could potentially cost much less,” said Shi. “They’re ideal for addressing the urgency and magnitude of the current crisis.”