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Pitt scientists identify promising covid treatments originating from llamas



According to researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, a groundbreaking treatment for covid-19 could come from llamas, who say this treatment has the potential to treat or even suppress microbes. withdraw.

According to the researchers, the idea involved immunizing a llama to SARS-CoV-2, which caused the virus and then harvesting what are called nanobodies – smaller and stronger than that of human antibodies, according to the researchers. That makes them much better at disabling covid-1

9.

Humans do not create nano objects; In fact, the only mammals are llamas, alpacas, and camels, says Yi Shi, a cell biologist at Pitt and the lead author of the study published in Science.

Enter: Wally, a llama from Massachusetts. He serves as a conduit for the nanobodies. Shi and his team used the covid-19 protein to immunize Wally, who named him for resembling Shi’s black lab of the same name. Two to three months later, Wally’s immune system produces nanosomes that fight the virus.

From there, tiny fragments of these nanobodies are extracted and turned into an inhalable mist. Shi says the mist is inhaled and goes straight to the lungs. Because covid-19 is a respiratory virus, the inhaled antibodies can then bind to the virus in the lungs, reducing the amount of damage the virus can do.

“As a virologist, it’s hard to believe how to exploit the singularity of llama antibody generation into the creation of a powerful nano weapon,” said Paul Duprex, co-author of the study and director. against (covid-19). of the Pitt Vaccine Research Center.

Shi’s study showed that the nanoparticles were more stable than human antibodies and that they could remain at room temperature for weeks. That stability is what enables them to transform into mist.

Shi said that the idea of ​​using nanomaterials is neither new nor new. What’s new is his ability to use mass spectrometry to classify nanosomes in Wally’s blood as the strongest form of defense against viruses. Mass spectrometry is a process used to classify the fundamental compounds of a sample, such as chemicals or molecules, and Shi and his team spent three years perfecting the technology used to detect objects. Wally’s most powerful nano-form.

Another plus, Duprex said, is that there won’t be many llamas needed to perform nano-body treatment: Once the nanosomes are sequenced, they can be recreated in the lab.

Working with the Pitt’s Vaccine Research Center, Shi and other researchers attacked a sample of the covid-19 virus that lived on Wally’s nanosomes. They found that the smallest amount – a fraction of the nanogram, according to the researchers – could neutralize enough virus to keep a million cells from becoming infected.

Duprex says nanoparticles are very versatile and have a multitude of possibilities. One is that they can be used as a treatment. Another, he said, “if you think quite creatively,” is the possibility that nano-bodies could be used to stop viruses from entering if a person is exposed.

“It’s like armed and ready to go,” says Duprex, imagining you have nanobodies and you spray and inhale them before you go out .. and you just happen to touch a door with a virus. and then touch your mouth. They will be ready, targeted, and able to disable. ”

Megan Guza is a writer for the Tribune-Review. You can contact Megan at 412-380-8519, mguza@triblive.com or via Twitter.

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Virus corona | Editor’s Choice | Health | Local | Pittsburgh




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