The Llama Cure

There may be some good news on the way in the fight against the virus.

Scientists are studying if blood from a four-year-old llama named

Winter could produce a special disease-fighting antibody that could put the

kibosh on Covid-19.

This is actual news.

Winter lives in Belgium with 130 other llamas and alpacas. Winter

also lives near Buffalo, New York, but Buffalo’s winter produces only snow

and gray skies, not quite as useful as we’d like.

Nevertheless, early tests show that the antibodies that

Belgium’s Winter produces may block the virus from entering and

infecting cells.

As a public service I have done a bit of research on the lives of llamas and

what might be transferred to humans if they got a touch of llama DNA in the

inoculation process.

Because we would have to use domesticated llamas, not the kind that run

wild, you should be aware of some llama behavior that could cause problems in

humans. If the llamas are over-socialized by humans when they are young,

they treat humans as they would treat other llamas – by bouts of spitting, kicking

and neck wrestling.

Now, I’m not one for kicking and spitting, but I used to do a bit of

neck wrestling myself when I was 16 and I came to enjoy it, to tell the truth.

She moved on from that, however, leaving me alone in the front seat

of my father’s 1952 Plymouth station wagon. The Plymouth was not quite as enjoyable

after that.

But that is not the only thing we humans might pick up from llamas.

It turns out that when llamas mate, the male may participate for 20 to 45

minutes. I consider this the very, very upside of a llama vaccine, so sign

me up.  And, I suppose, there are women out there who would also

consider this a plus. I’m not asking for anyone out there to name names,

this being a family blog.

You are all aware, I’m sure, that the capital of Belgium is

Brussels. And, if Winter turns out to be as valuable as we’re all

hoping,  we might well be on our way, despite our aversion, to the

next great vaccine using another of Belgium’s great resources.

Brussels sprouts.


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