This Belgian Llama Might Be Able to Neutralize the Coronavirus

May 7, 2020

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Antibodies from Winter, a four-year-old Belgian llama, have been neutralizing the novel coronavirus, according to The New York Times. Llamas have long been used for antibody research. Scientists have used them to study HIV, influenza, SARS and other viruses. That's because llamas produce an antibody that's 25 percent the size of human antibodies. That antibody can get into smaller spaces on the spike proteins which help virus break into host cells. Therefore, the llama antibody can sometimes more effectively stop viruses. Ideally, these antibodies would be provide short-term protection against the coronavirus. However, studies would be needed to ensure it's safe to inject a human body with llama antibodies. “There is still a lot of work to do to try to bring this into the clinic,” says one researcher. “If it works, llama Winter deserves a statue.”