New research has suggested that antibodies produced by llamas could potentially be used as a treatment for Covid-19 in the form of nasal spray.
It was discovered by scientists at the Rosalind Franklin Institute in the UK the nanobodies, smaller and simpler forms of molecules that are produced by llamas and camels, are able to target the Sars-CoV-2 virus which causes Covid-19.
According to the study, short chains of the molecules which can be produced in large quantities significantly reduced the signs of Covid-19 when administered to infected animals.
The antibodies neutralise the virus by tightly binding to it.
This may provide a cheaper and easier alternative to human antibodies that are sourced from Covid-19 patients.
Deputy Director of the National Infection Service, Public Health England Professor Miles Carroll stated, “Although this research is still at an early stage, it opens up significant possibilities for the use of effective nanobody treatments for Covid-19.”
He added, “We believe the unique structure and strength of the nanobodies contribute to their significant potential for both the prevention and treatment of Covid-19 and look forward to working collaboratively to progress this work into clinical studies.”
In relation to nanobodies, head of protein production at the Rosalind Franklin Institute and lead author of the research Professor Ray Owens stated, “They are cheaper to produce and can be delivered directly to the airways through a nebuliser or nasal spray, so can be self-administered at home rather than needing an injection.”