These antibodies have the potential to treat or prevent COVID-19 infection.
The University of California, Davis researchers successfully produced antibodies for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein generated from hen eggs. The university says that these antibodies could be used to treat COVID-19 infection or help stop it.
The peer-reviewed work was published in Viruses Journal on Saturday.
Birds are perfect for generating many antibodies fast and affordably, according to Rodrigo Gallardo, a professor of poultry health in the Department of Population Health and Reproduction at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
“The beauty of the system is that you can produce a lot of antibodies in birds,” he added.
In addition to being inexpensive to manufacture in hens, these antibodies can be updated quickly by hyperimmunized hens with new antigens, providing protection from present variant strains.
When administered to humans, the antibody IgY produced by birds does not cause allergic or immunological reactions since it is similar to the human antibody IgG. According to Gallardo, who was quoted by UC Davis, IgY is found in the serum and eggs of birds, and because hens produce about 300 eggs annually, they let significant amounts of IgY to be collected.
The Scientific Experiment
The researchers gave the chickens two doses of three vaccines that bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein or receptor binding domain, and then assessed antibodies in blood samples taken from the hens and egg yolks three and six weeks after immunization.
According to UC Davis, researchers at George Mason University’s National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases examined purified antibodies to see if they could prevent SARS-CoV-2 from infecting human cells.
The researchers discovered that both the eggs and the serum had antibodies capable of detecting SARS-CoV-2, but according to UC Davis, antibodies from the sera were more effective at killing virus particles.
In collaboration with Michael Wallach at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, and Daria Mochly-Rosen at Stanford University, Gallardo hopes to include these antibodies into a spray that might be used by people who have a higher chance of coming into contact with COVID-19.
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