Lama hiding in secret location in Belgium could defeat coronavirus


Llamas, and other members of the camel family, are unusual in animals in that they create standard and smaller antibodies, which counter infections.

Smaller antibodies are easier for scientists to use. Winter was infected with safe versions of the SARS and MERS viruses before the blood samples were taken.

The Belgian team identified nanobodies, which are fragments of the smallest antibodies, to see which ones bind most strongly to the virus.

The coronavirus is a cousin of the SARS virus, according to the researchers. Both have the distinct shape of the crown or crown and protein peaks, on which antibodies can attach when they attack.

The research, released on Tuesday, is based on a 2016 study that originally focused on SARS, which, like the coronavirus, had a high mortality rate and could move from animal to human. The SARS and MERS viruses exploded in 2003 and 2012.

“The work was a side project in 2016. We thought it might be interesting. Then the new virus arrived and it became potentially more crucial, more important, “said Xavier Selens, co-leader of the Belgian team.

“If all goes well, we hope we can start the first clinical trials early next year,” said Dr. Schepens.

It is estimated that more than 8,000 people have died from coronaviruses in Belgium, which has 11.5 million inhabitants. The country began gradually easing its foreclosure measures on Monday.


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