Alpacas Big Boy, Blue Eyes and Emperor may hold the key to combating COVID-19. Their antibodies could offer a defense against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease.
University of Kentucky College of Medicine researchers are using the special antibodies made by alpacas, called nanobodies, to help understand the novel coronavirus and potentially develop a treatment that could protect people from being infected.
Nanobodies are smaller and more stable types of antibodies taken from the immune systems of camelids – which include camels, llamas and alpacas. Nanobodies could be more effective at fighting the disease because their tiny size gives them the ability to fit into spaces on viral proteins that regular antibodies have a hard time penetrating.