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New Study Finds That Llamas May Be The Secret To Fighting The Flu

Special Antibodies Found In Llamas May Help Make Vaccines More Effective

November 2, 2018
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It’s getting close to winter, which means we are right in the midst of flu season. Last year’s flu season was one of the worst in recent history. The flu caused more than 80,000 deaths in the U.S. with 290,000 to 650,000 deaths recorded worldwide each year, due to the flu. Well thanks to science, we may have found an answer. What mythical being do we have to thank for this potential vaccine? That would be llamas, of course.

While there are vaccines currently to help protect against the flu, the average number of deaths have seen insignificant decreases. Thanks to llamas, researchers may have found a vaccine that last longer and helps protect against all kinds of influenza viruses. This is due to special antibodies found in llamas that can detect a larger range of viruses.

This new study used these special antibodies in order to target multiple strains of the flu virus at once. This technique could lead to more effective flu prevention, as it would help detect strains that current vaccines are not capable of finding. The best part is that these antibodies can survive without refrigeration for a longer period, which could theoretically reduce cost of the treatment.

This study was tested on mice, so there is a long way before knowing how it affects humans. In the study, the mice that were injected with the special antibodies were kept safe from both type A, and type B flu viruses. These two influenza types are the most common viruses in the American flu epidemic.

While it is still far away from getting into the hands of the public, this research marks a large step forward in the prevention of a disease that afflicts five to 25 percent of the U.S. population each year. If they are able to one day find a way to prevent the flu, we may have llamas to thank.

Via PBS