What are you thinking when someone is talking about alpacas? Do you imagine a big, fluffy, and soft animal with a long neck? You are right, these cute, nice, friendly animals are loved by everyone. But they can be even better and yield benefits for mankind. Alpacas can be our saviors from Covid-19, which stripped us from everything so important to people, human interaction.
For more than a year and a half, we have been constantly scared to get sick or to pass this virus to others. Even to this day we avoid unnecessary social interactions. We have been wearing masks, washing our hands, praising our doctors for their heroic work, but it is time to step up and fight Covid-19 with the help of the cutest and the most heartwarming animal that you could ever imagine, alpaca.
Why will the alpaca save us all?
Alpacas are originally from South America and everyone makes a mistake by confusing them with llamas. They are closely related and can crossbreed with a success but alpacas are smaller in size. But what do we know about these animals who live mostly in mountains and what is the connection between them and coronavirus?
We have been living our life believing that alpacas are mostly bred for their fiber, you can make knitted and woven items, which are similar to wool that you get from sheep. Here are just a few items that you can make from alpacas fiber: sweaters, blankets, gloves, hats, scarves and so many more that you can only think of.
Although, not a long time ago some shocking information about alpacas was revealed. Recently, Australian scientists claimed that alpacas can be not only the best animal to install as your wallpaper on the phone screen or to buy socks from their fiber but also can help us fight Covid-19 with their antibodies.
Apparently, in technology news Australia scientists have discovered that alpacas can produce antibodies to human coronaviruses naturally. This discovery can lead to the creation of new medicine from Covid-19. This is a fascinating finding as we have vaccines from it but more and more strains are appearing, and we must stay alert.
During preclinical trials technology news Australia group of alpacas in the Victoria region were injected by a synthetic, non-infectious part of the SARS-Co-V-2 spike protein (the virus that caused Covid-19). This kind of protein is not contagious, it doesn’t cause diseases in animals and it is not dangerous to them by any means but at the same time, it provokes the appearance of antibodies.
It turned out that in response to infection, alpacas form unique nanobodies, that are tiny immune proteins that block human coronaviruses, both SARS-CoV-2 and its early version SARS-CoV. Alpacas’ nanobodies are also able to fight all known coronavirus mutations, which is a piece of great news for humans because right now vaccines cannot fully protect us from all types of coronavirus strains. Moreover, with each day we find out about more and new types of coronavirus strains, that is why we need to try any kind of resort that is available to us.
Will scientists continue the study?
To continue the study, scientists must extract the sequences of genes from alpacas encoding the desired nanobodies. They are then used to produce millions of types of nanobodies in the laboratory, from which specialists will select the most suitable for humans. Besides, the laboratory work could be a long and complicated process but with correct technology news Australia, scientists will end up with a successful result. The new method is supposed to be used exclusively as a therapy because it is unlikely to be able to replace the vaccine since it does not provide long-term protection from the virus.
To protect people from Covid-19, it is necessary to vaccinate them a month or two before possible infection. With this therapy, you can take advantage of the protective antibodies directly so that he is immune to infection immediately after the procedure.
Would the process of extracting the genes be harmful to alpacas?
Taking naturally produced antibodies from alpacas will not harm them, moreover, as scientists know how to copy them as many as needed, alpacas would not be stripped from their natural antibodies.
It is not the scientist’s intention to purposely put these wonderful and important creatures in any kind of danger.
As for now, scientists need to do more research into all cons and pros of alpacas antibodies to Covid-19, but, maybe, in a few years, we will install statues and monuments for the great alpacas who saved humanity from the pandemic.