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Antibodies derived from llamas have been shown to neutralise the SARS-CoV-2 virus in lab tests, UK researchers announced today

Four llamas

The team involves researchers from Oxford University, the Rosalind Franklin Institute, Diamond Light Source and Public Health England. They hope the antibodies – known as nanobodies due to their small size – could eventually be developed as a treatment for patients with severe COVID-19. The peer reviewed findings are published in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology.

Llamas, camels and alpacas naturally produce quantities of small antibodies with a simpler structure, that can be turned into nanobodies. The team engineered their new nanobodies using a collection of antibodies taken from llama blood cells. They have shown that the nanobodies bind tightly to the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, blocking it from entering human cells and stopping infection.

The full story is available on the University of Oxford website