Corona Vaccine Tracker on Nov 6, 2020

Russia, Belarus discuss Sputnik V vaccine production

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and his Belarusian counterpart, Roman Golovchenko, have discussed the ongoing clinical trials of the Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, the Belarusian government press service informed in a statement.

“In the evening of November 5, 2020, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus Roman Golovchenko held a telephone conversation with the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Mikhail Mishustin. The parties discussed information on the progress of clinical trials of the Sputnik V vaccine and preparations for its production in the Republic of Belarus,” the statement, released on Facebook, says.

Hopes from llama antibodies

Scientists have found a new method to extract tiny but extremely powerful novel coronavirus antibody fragments from llamas, which they say could be fashioned into inhalable therapeutics with the potential to prevent and treat COVID-19.

These special llama antibodies, called nanobodies, are much smaller than human antibodies, according to the researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in the US.

“Nature is our best inventor,” said Yi Shi, senior author of the study published in the journal Science on Thursday.

The researchers immunised a black llama named Wally with a piece of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and, after about two months, the animal’s immune system produced mature nanobodies against the virus.

Using a mass spectrometry-based technique, lead study author Yufei Xiang, a research assistant in Shi's lab, identified the nanobodies in Wally's blood that bind to SARS-CoV-2 most strongly.

The scientists then exposed their nanobodies to live SARS-CoV-2 virus and found that just a fraction of a nanogramme could neutralise enough virus to spare a million cells from being infected.

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