Immunoglobulins from Lama effective in the fight against COVID-19?
New laboratory tests have shown that immunoglobulins from Lama act as antibodies against coronavirus and can neutralize it. A team of British scientists has shown that nanobodies extracted from blood cells from llamas bind tightly to the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Thus, they block its entry into human cells and stop the infection. The researchers are currently investigating immunoglobulins from llama, which they removed after immunization with harmlessly purified virus proteins.
Combine immunoglobulins from llama
The team is investigating preliminary results that show that Lama’s immune system has produced antibodies other than those already identified. This enables the experts to test combinations of nanobodies against the virus. So the team is looking for effective treatments to fight the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. Given the lengthy development process for vaccines, the development of selective antibodies that can neutralize the SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for COVID-19 is an important immediate priority. In addition, the recent development of so-called nanobody technology is a particularly exciting new advance.
Nanobodies are smaller, more stable types of antibodies that come from the immune system of camelid species such as llamas, alpacas and camels. Because of their smaller size, they can target more relevant proteins and prevent the virus from attaching and spreading to a host. The researchers are currently working on converting immunoglobulins from llama into nanobodies that can bind to proteins in the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This includes the glycoprotein, which enables the virus to enter human cells. Nanobodies can offer additional capacity to bind SARS-CoV-2 proteins at different locations and to neutralize the virus even more effectively. Using advanced X-ray and electron imaging, the team also found that the nanobodies bind to the spike protein in new and different ways than other previously discovered antibodies.
The scientists report that they were able to combine one of the nanobodies with a human antibody. So it turned out that this combination can be even more powerful. Combinations are particularly useful because the virus has to change several things at once to escape. This is very difficult for the virus. The nanobodies also have the potential for powerful diagnostics. This research is a great example of teamwork in science because the teams created, analyzed and tested the nanobodies in 12 weeks. The researchers carried out experiments in just a few days, which would normally take months. They hope that they can drive this breakthrough into preclinical studies.
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