Scientist injects COVID-19 immune camels with virus to study antibodies

MENA

Published: 2021-05-04 12:17

Last Updated: 2021-05-08 01:52


Scientist injects COVID-19 immune camels with virus to study antibodies
Scientist injects COVID-19 immune camels with virus to study antibodies

A veterinary microbiologist, Ulrich Wernery, is leading a study focusing on camels, COVID-19, and immunity. Specifically, Wernery and his team are injecting inactive samples of the coronavirus into camels to examine their antibodies.

Study results could provide indispensable information on how to tackle the global coronavirus crisis while treating infected patients.

Despite camels once being a known host of another coronavirus, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which was known to cause a plethora of symptoms such as acute respiratory disease and kidney failure, studies indicated that camels are actually immune to the new coronavirus, COVID-19.

Camels do not have a virus receptor, said Wernery. 

A virus receptor is a "host cell" which is recognized by the virus as a "gateway" to enter the cell, which leaves humans and many animals vulnerable to COVID-19, he said.

“MERS-CoV, [camels] can harbor but they don’t get sick,” he explained.

“With COVID-19, the virus cannot attach to the camels’ mucosa cells of the respiratory tract as the receptor is absent or dull.”

Wernery noted that this revelation makes it all very interesting, especially seeing as many other animals can become sick and transmit the virus.

COVID-19 has been found among many animals, such as Gorillas in a San Diego Zoo, a cat in the UK, a tiger at the Bronx Zoo, and many others.

However, scientists and the World Health Organization (WHO) say the risk of animals spreading or transmitting the virus to humans is incredibly low.