Dirty Bomb? Grab a Llama

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The current issue of The American Legion magazine has an interesting tidbit about how "an unusual protein found in the blood of llamas has enabled scientists to deveop a quick, simple method for making anibodies that could be used in a new generation of bio sensors that could help detect deliberate environmental contamination, such a bioterrorism."

According to the article, researchers at the Naval Research Laboratory say that llamas are among certain animals that produce "heavy chain antibodies" from which "single-domain antibodies" can be isolated by genetic engineering. Camels and sharks also produce the same antibody but you seldom see either of those in a petting zoo, do you?

NRL researchers claim to have used single-domain antibodies to combat a smallpox virus surrogate, cholera toxin, along with other biothreats.

-- Ward

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