In 10 seconds? The Covid-19 pandemic has seen various vaccines rolled out across the globe. However, their effectiveness varies against new viral strains. Emerging ‘nanobody’ therapies can offer a prophylactic option but they will take years to authorise.

I know about antibodies but what are these nanobodies? OK, so antibodies are complex protein molecules that specifically act on 'antigens'. In the case of Covid-19 the antigens are parts of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that can provoke an immune reaction. However, when it comes to binding to and disabling the virus, nanobodies can be more effective. One reason is due to their size – they are not called ‘nano’ for nothing! Nanobodies are the smallest fragments of antibodies and specifically bind to the notorious spike protein that SARS-CoV-2 uses to enter our cells. Through this binding, they neutralise the virus and block infection.

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