Source: The Guardian
A new study published in the journal Cell points to a surprising source of hope for the coronavirus pandemic: llamas.
Llamas have large antibodies like humans, but they also have smaller ones that can “sneak into spaces on viral proteins that are too tiny for human antibodies, helping them to fend off the threat,” according to The Guardian.
Researchers have made advances with the help of a four-year-old llama in Belgium named Winter. To date, her antibodies have helped fight Sars and Mers, prompting optimism that she could play a role combating the coronavirus.
“If it works, llama Winter deserves a statue,” Dr Xavier Saelens, a Ghent University virologist and author of the study told the New York Times.
Llamas have healing powers beyond their antibodies, according to the Guardian. They are commonly used on campuses, particularly in California, where “their tranquility is contagious,” a welcome addition near exams.
And llamas are helping during the coronavirus in other, less scientific, ways. The pack animals are currently put to use in Wales where the mammals can be found delivering groceries.
“Everything about these guys – you’d think they’d be the most valued creature in the world,” George Caldwell said. Caldwell raises the useful beasts in Sonora, California. “Llamas are the real unicorns.”
Read more about how llamas might save us all from the Guardian.