Llamas, heroes of the pandemic?
May 7, 2020
Winter is a 4-year-old chocolate-colored llama with spindly legs, ever-so-slightly askew ears and envy-inducing eyelashes. Some scientists hope she might be an important figure in the fight against the coronavirus.
She is not a superpowered camelid. Winter was simply the lucky llama chosen by researchers in Belgium, where she lives, to participate in a series of virus studies involving both SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome). Finding that her antibodies staved off those infections, the scientists posited that those same antibodies could also neutralize the new virus that causes COVID-19. They were right and published their results Tuesday in the journal Cell.