ABS Biodiscovery Case in Argentina
Fighting pediatric diarrhea with nanobodies from a wild camelid, the guanaco.
In the vast territory of the Patagonia can be found the biggest wild camel ’s species in the American continent: the guanaco. This South American Camelid has adapted over the centuries to different types of weather and has been a valuable resource for the indigenous communities who inhabited Argentina. The hostility of the climate conditions to which guanacos were adapted and their powerful immune systems have made them attractive to science and biotechnology.
By the end of the 20th century, researchers had already identified that camelid species carry a special type of antibody, called nanobody, the smallest molecule in nature capable of recognizing and binding to an antigen. These nanobodies present many special properties, such as resistance to extreme temperatures and to inhibit enzyme activity, among others. This positions them as multipurpose molecules with a large number of biotechnological applications that can be used for diagnosis and treating of many diseases.
Curently, groups of Argentinian scientists are studying the guanaco, in the Chubut province, to develop a pediatric treatment against the Group A rotavirus, the main agent responsible for pediatric diarrhea. The study is conducted by the Argentinian INCUINTA investigation group. All the information generated by this project, and the benefits that can derive from the utilization of genetic resources will be shared between the collaborating parties and the province of Chubut.
Read more about this biodiscovery case here.