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Jul 13, 2022

Producing COVID-19 antibodies in hen eggs

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health

Researchers at the University of California, Davis, have been able to produce antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in hen eggs. Antibodies harvested from eggs might be used to treat COVID-19 or as a preventative measure for people exposed to the disease. The work was published July 9 in the journal Viruses.

“The beauty of the system is that you can produce a lot of antibodies in birds,” said Rodrigo Gallardo, professor in poultry medicine, Department of Population Health and Reproduction at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. “In addition to a low cost to produce these antibodies in hens, they can be updated very fast by using updated antigens to hyperimmunize hens, allowing protection against current variant strains.”

Birds produce a type of antibody called IgY, comparable to IgG in humans and other mammals. IgY does not cause allergy or set off immune reactions when injected into humans. IgY appears both in birds’ serum and in their eggs. As a hen lays about 300 eggs a year, you can get a lot of IgY, Gallardo said.

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