Swedish scientists work on a radical Covid-19 blocker involving alpacas

Leading scientists in the prestigious Karolinska Institute in Stockholm are working on a pioneering treatment involving llamas and alpacas in the fight against Covid-19, news wires reported. After immunizing Tyson, a 12 year-old alpaca in Germany, with virus proteins, the team at the institute have isolated tiny antibodies, known as nanobodies, from his blood that bind to the same part of the virus as human antibodies and could block the infection.

"Tyson has the antibodies against SARS-Covid-2 virus," Dr Gerald McInerney, Associate Professor of Virology at the Karolinska Institute, told FRANCE24. "Camels, and alpacas and llamas and other animals from that family have special, small single-chain antibodies. Tiny antibodies they've proved can block Covid-19."

The institute is studying how to put these tiny antibodies on cells, blocking the virus from getting in and to stop patients from developing the disease. From alpaca blood samples the researchers can clone antibodies en masse in the laboratory. They hope to produce a short term treatment, most likely as a mouth spray, or inhaler.


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