There has long been speculation that innocent animals could be used to create bioweapons for terrorist attacks. But they could be used to detect these weapons as well.
If terrorists deploy a biological weapon, the molecules in the blood of llamas would warn us we were being attacked. Scientists would just have to look in the llama?s blood for antibodies to the specific bioweapon.
Antibodies are manufactured in the blood when a body is exposed to a particular intruder. And it turns out that the antibodies manufactured in the bodies of certain animals are more efficient than those made by human blood. Antibodies from llamas, camels and sharks are much smaller, simpler and more durable than ours, meaning that they can withstand high heat, which makes them an ideal way for a military medic to carry a test kit in his jacket pocket, even if he?s part of a unit stationed in the desert. In LiveScience.com, Charles Q. Choi quoties Naval biochemist Ellen Goldman as saying, "We're interested in the development of biosensors for biothreats in the field, and hopefully these antibodies will help lead to more rugged antibodies that have longer shelf lives and not require refrigeration."
Art credit: freeimages.co.uk
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