Winter is a 4-year-old chocolate-colored llama with spindly legs, ever-so-slightly askew ears and envy-inducing eyelashes. Some scientists hope she might be an important figure in the fight against the novel coronavirus.
Scientists have long turned to llamas for antibody research. In the last decade, for example, scientists have used llamas’ antibodies in H.I.V. and influenza research, finding promising therapies for both viruses.
Llamas’ antibodies are also easily manipulated, said Dr. Xavier Saelens, a molecular virologist at Ghent University in Belgium and an author of the new study. They can be linked or fused with other antibodies, including human antibodies, and remain stable despite those manipulations.
“There is still a lot of work to do to try to bring this into the clinic,” Dr. Saelens said. “If it works, llama Winter deserves a statue.”
I run this site in my spare time and thoroughly enjoy giving you all positive news! If you’ve enjoyed the site we’d love for you to help me share the good news far and wide, share us on Reddit, your Facebook or your Twitter and spread a little positivity around.