The use of antibodies produced by the flames against the COVID-19 It has been tested in hamsters infected with SARS-CoV-2, which showed a marked reduction in the disease and a lower viral load in the lungs and respiratory tract.
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A study led by the Rosalind Franklin Institute (UK) has shown that nanobodies – a smaller and simpler form of antibodies generated by llamas and camels – can be effectively targeted against the virus that causes COVID-19.
Preclinical testing of nanobodies in hamsters “They are very encouraging and suggest that they can be effective” to treat COVID-19, in addition to “helping prevent infection,” said one of the authors of the research, James Stewart, in a statement.
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Although the investigation is still in its early stages, “Opens important possibilities for the use of effective nanobody treatments against COVID-19”, according to the deputy director of the National Public Health Infection Service of England (PHE), Miles Carrol, quoted by Rosalind Frankin Institute.
The research team, whose results are published in Nature Communication, were able to generate the nanobodies injecting a portion of the spike protein (the one that SARS-CoV-2 uses to enter cells), in a flame called Fifi.
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The injections did not make the animal sick, but their immune system fought the virus protein by generating nanobodies against it, from which the researchers could purify four nanobodies capable of binding the virus.
The nanobodies were combined in chains of three to increase their ability to bind to the virus. Three of them were capable of neutralizing both the original SARS-Cov-2 variants and the Alpha variant and a fourth neutralized the Beta.
When one of the chains was administered to SARS-CoV-2 infected hamsters, the animals “They showed a remarkable reduction in the disease, losing much less weight after seven days than those who remained untreated”, said the British institute in a statement.
The hamsters that received the nanobody treatment “They also had a lower viral load in their lungs and airways after seven days than untreated animals.”
Nanobodies, which bind tightly to SARS-CoV-2, neutralizing it in cell culture, could provide a cheaper and easier-to-use alternative to human antibodies taken from patients who have recovered from COVID-19.
The lead author of the research, Ray Owens, noted that nanobodies are “Cheaper to produce and can be administered directly into the airways by means of a nebulizer or nasal spray.
Therefore, they could be self-administered at home and not with an injection, but also, he said, they make the treatment reach the site of the infection in the respiratory tract.
If successful and approved, nanobodies could constitute an important treatment worldwide, as they are easier to produce than human antibodies and do not need to be stored in cold storage facilities, added the director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute, James Naismith, who collaborated in the study.
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