Llama antibodies have ‘significant potential’ as Covid treatment

It could be given as new frontline treatment against coronavirus in the form of a nasal spray

Tiny antibodies produced by llamas could provide a new frontline treatment against coronavirus in the form of a nasal spray, research suggests.

Scientists at the Rosalind Franklin Institute have found that the nanobodies – a smaller, simple form of antibody generated by llamas and camels – can effectively target the Sars-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19.

Short chains of the molecules, which can be produced in large quantities in the laboratory, significantly reduced signs of Covid-19 when given to infected animal models, according to the study.

The nanobodies bind tightly to the virus, neutralising it in the laboratory, and could provide a cheaper and easier alternative to human antibodies taken from recovered from Covid-19 patients.

Human antibodies have been used for serious cases during the pandemic, but usually need to be administered by infusion through a needle in hospital.

Professor Miles Carroll, deputy director of the National Infection Service, Public Health England (PHE), said: “Although this research is still at an early stage, it opens up significant possibilities for the use of effective nanobody treatments for Covid-19.

“These are among the most effective Sars-CoV-2 neutralising agents we have ever tested at PHE.

“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.”

Published: by Radio NewsHub