How a Llama Could Conquer COVID-19

As frustration continues and economic fallout mounts, we’re all getting stir crazy. When will our normal lives resume? How will our economy recover? What will be the long-term fallout of coronavirus? How soon can we expect a vaccine?

World leaders and scientists scramble to answer these questions while billions of people wait, lives on hold. Nearly every laboratory on the planet is working around the clock to invent a treatment or vaccine, racing to demonstrate even the slightest progress. While most take a traditional approach to medical discovery, researchers in Belgium are pushing the creative boundaries.

Enter a brown, long-lashed llama named Winter.

Scientists discovered that llamas have a unique antibody construction, which could lead to life-saving prevention in humans. Llama antibodies have been proven to drive a positive impact on neutralizing other viruses such as MERS, SARS, and HIV. Without getting too geeky, the structure of llama antibodies may be more powerful than human antibodies in breaking down the spread of COVID-19 cells. According to a feature in the New York Times, the llama antibodies are indeed “effectively inhibiting the coronavirus in cell cultures.”

Still in early testing with Winter and her llama friends, the treatment appears to only provide temporary defense to humans, providing just months of protection from the virus per injection. Still, the idea of thwarting the spread of this hideous virus – even for a few weeks – is more exciting than the opening day of major league baseball.

As we work to tackle many challenges in our own lives – from heath to business to family – we can be inspired by the lowly llama. Think of a “llama” solution as the unexpected, weird, unorthodox, oddball, creative approach to solving a problem. In most cases, you’ve probably already tried the obvious tactics. If the obstacle persists, give a “llama” a try. Ask yourself – what is the most bizarre idea I can come up with? What is a way to attack my challenge that is so non-traditional, most people would laugh at me for suggesting it?

Pushing your creative thinking to llama-level may be just what the doctor ordered. In fact, many of life’s greatest discoveries were the direct result of llama-like approaches. A willingness to look for answers in places that are so far afield the norm, you run the risk of being called a lunatic.

In these challenging times, give yourself permission to be a mad scientist. Look for llama-eqse answers to your most pesky problems, and you may just land on a fresh and potent solution. When tradition no longer gets the job done, we must push the boundaries of normalcy to discover new paths forward.

With much work still to be done, the llama antibodies could prove to be the desperately needed cure to our current crisis. And that same llama approach can serve you well in your own pursuits.

While it lacks the strength of a lion, the speed of a cheetah, or the grace of a gazelle, the proud llama’s strangeness could be our most effective inspiration to tackle vast challenges and invent a new future.