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Belgium in Brief: Fifi The Llama Fights Covid

The time has come to talk about how llamas can maybe help us fight covid. It’s been a long week.

You see, research has shown that a unique type of tiny antibody – a nanobody – produced by llamas has “significant potential” as a new Covid-19 treatment when used in a simple nasal spray.

They’re cheap to produce, easily self-administered, and in theory, could allow you to say that a llama helped you when you got Covid.

The llama is called Fifi, by the way. That seems important. Fifi is trying to help us get over Covid. Fifi wants us not to have to wear masks. Fifi wants us to be able to travel again (maybe I’m assuming too much of Fifi).

As explained by Maïthé Chini, researchers were able to generate the nanobodies by injecting a portion of the virus’ spike protein (which binds it to human cells so it can infect them) into a llama called Fifi, who is part of the antibody production facility at the University of Reading.

The injections did not make Fifi sick but they triggered her immune system to fight the virus protein by generating nanobodies against it. A small blood sample was then taken from Fifi, from which the researchers were able to purify four nanobodies.

HOW COOL IS THAT? 

Good job Fifi, read about it here.

Let @johnstonjules know what you think (or email me j.johnston@brusselstimes.com

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