Special Immune Covid Therapy Shows Promise Of Effectively Treating Covid-19

Special Immune Covid Therapy Shows Promise Of Effectively Treating Covid-19

By Tony O’Riley-

A Covid therapy derived from a llama named Fifi has shown promise in early trials. Scientists believe  a simple nasal spray to treat and even prevent early infection is likely to be successful, and await teials of the proceedure in humans.

The immune system produces antibodies when it is being attacked, or in response to infections, buty Llamas, camels and alpacas naturally produce quantities of small antibodies with a simpler structure, that can be turned into nanobodies.

The treatment has, so far, been tested only in those lab animals, but Public Health England said it was among the “most effective SARS-CoV-2 neutralising agents” it had ever tested. Scientists have been conducting trials on the proposed therapy for over a year, and assessing its efficacy over a long period.

The prospect of effective treatment to Covid comes in addition to a drug used to treat gout which a U.S study found yesterday could also help combat COVID-19, a new study has found.

A team from the University of Georgia found that the drug-approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA- may also be able to inhibit the replication of virus cells like SARS-CoV-2 – which causes Covid – and prevent infection.

Together, the discovery raises hopes of beating Covid, potentially quicker and more effectively than the vaccine.

The nanobodies that these researchers produced – with the help of a llama’s immune system – bind particularly tightly.

Prof Naismith,  one of the lead researchers and director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute in Oxfordshire, explained that coronavirus-infected rodents treated with the new nanobody nasal spray fully recovered within six days.

“That’s where we had some help from Fifi the ‘Franklin [Institute] llama’,” explained Prof Naism

The team was then able to grow large quantities of the specially selected, most potent molecules.

Prof Naismith told BBC News: “The immune system is so marvellous that it still does better than we can – evolution is hard to beat.”

Professor Sheena Cruickshank, an immunologist from the University of Manchester said the new development was “exciting but still quite early”.

“We need more data on efficacy and safety before we move to human trials,” she added. “However it’s very promising nonetheless and the fact it may be cheaper and easier to administer is a plus. Covid-19 will be, unfortunately, with us for a while yet, so more treatments will be needed.”

Professor Naismith and his collaborators, who published their research in the journal Nature Communications agreed that, even with the success of the Covid vaccines, having effective treatments in the future would be very important.

“Not all of the world is being vaccinated at the same speed,” he said, “and there remains a risk of new variants capable of bypassing vaccine immunity emerging.”

Should the therapy prove successful over time, it could mark a historical moment in dealing with Covid, and help the world move on fromm this pandemic.

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