Alpacas antibodies potently neutralise coronavirus, claim researchers


Karolinska University’s researchers said that the tiny antibodies found in alpacas could help suppress a new wave of coronavirus besides allowing countries to lift lockdown measures.

The researchers have claimed their research ‘potently neutralises the virus’ when scientists in Sweden and South Africa used ‘nanobodies’ from an animal immunised against the virus to prevent it from binding or infecting a human being.

The scientists realised that the small antibody targets the spikes of the virus which in turn interferes with its ability to infect its host.

Alpacas antibodies coronavirus research nanobodies

They said that reproduction of the nanobodies could be a widely accessible option as the process is cheap and easy to clone and change, Dailymail UK reported.

‘The current coronavirus pandemic has drastic consequences for the world’s population, and vaccines, antibodies or antivirals are urgently needed. Neutralising antibodies can block virus entry at an early step of infection and potentially protect individuals that are at high risk of developing severe disease, the authors from the department of microbiology, tumour and cell biology at Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm told The Telegraph.

Alpacas antibodies coronavirus research nanobodies

The nanobody developed was called Ty1 – named after Tyson who was a 12-year-old alpaca from Germany who was immunised. The antibodies were then isolated.

Team leader, Gerald McInerney, said, “In principle, all the evidence would suggest that it will work very well in humans, but it is a very complex system.”

The academic paper which was published earlier this month has not been peer reviewed yet.

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