Covid-19, Alpaca Your Bags

Chilean researchers discovered a potent resource in alpaca immune systems to use against the pandemic virus. An international team headed by Alejandro Rojas Fernández, head of the Medical Biotechnology Lab of the University Austral of Chile, published findings for developing and using alpaca antibodies to fight Covid-19. The unique proteins the researchers found, called HCAb, are in the whole camelidae family: llamas, vicuñas, guanacos, alpacas, dromedaries and camels.

According to Dr. Rojas Fernández, the antibodies in camelids are a gift from nature, because they are less complex than those of other mammals. That means investigators can extract genetic information from a small drop of blood in order to isolate the gene and then reproduce it in bioreactors. Out of 30 alpaca antibodies the research team selected, they’ve found one that is superior. Now they are trying to prove its efficacy in blocking the Corona virus. They are working to have persuasive results in 6 months.

The hope is to develop a nasal inhaler armed with the antibodies for utilize at first exposure to infection. The inhaler technology is also useful to fight the illness in the lungs. The HCAb antibodies can neutralize SARS-CoV-2 (Corona) and propel our immune systems into action. It doesn’t completely eliminate the ailment but it does induce patients’ bodies to boosts their immunity. The antibody also can stick to the proteins or crowns of the virus to impede it from entering our cells.

The researchers are looking for 2 million dollars funding to continue the research. Sounds like it would be worth it!

In more South American Covid-19 news, Pfizer (US) and BioNTech (Germany) announced their vaccine trials will be in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The WHO says this is one of 12 vaccines which are ready for the clinical phase; human testing. 30,000 Argentines will be given the vaccine in late July or early August 2020. The FDA has given the vaccine “fast track” status. Pfizer/BioNTech hope to have the finished product ready December of this year.

Gracias for reading Fake Flamenco! We appreciate you stopping by. ¡Olé! –Rebecca

Alpaca, Chantreylands Alpacas  Photo: Daniella00 at English Wikipedia

P.S. “Alpaca your bags” is a joke from the kid’s game, Llamas Unleashed.

Rebecca Cuningham

14 thoughts on “Covid-19, Alpaca Your Bags

  1. Wow, this is really intriguing and absolutely fascinating. Let’s hope the nasal inhaler works. I would as well be weary of trying a vaccine that wasn’t tested over a longer period of time than a few months.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great question! Wish I knew the answer. My guess is that immunologists knew that camelids have different immune systems from other mammals and that since the researchers were in Chile they decided to work on alpacas. Maybe llamas or guanacos might have worked as well? I’ll look for an interview of the lead researcher…


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