Hong Lin

Video credit: UKRI
On-screen captions and an autogenerated transcript are available on YouTube.

Llamas and their close relatives have unusual immune systems. They can make a special type of antibody called nanobodies to fight infection. Compared to regular antibodies, they’re smaller, more stable and highly targeted.

When a llama is injected with a harmless protein, they will produce nanobodies that target and neutralise that specific protein. The nanobodies can then be collected and purified from a blood sample.

Researchers are interested in the potential of nanobodies to help patients whose immune systems are struggling to fight off COVID-19. They’re also investigating them as a treatment for asthma and high cholesterol.

Hong Lin manages the daily running of the research labs. In the llama study, she manages the llama’s injection and blood collection schedules. She prepares the injection contents on the day, before taking them to the university farm where the llamas live.

Last updated: 17 February 2022

This is the website for UKRI: our seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK. Let us know if you have some quick feedback or help us improve your experience by taking three minutes to tell us what you think of the UKRI website.