A white and a black alpaca
A white and a black alpaca

How Llamas are Combating Coronavirus and Healing Humanity

Llamas are amazing creatures. They are incredibly social, will protect herds of grazing animals from predators like bears, and they even helped Emperor Kuzco find his new groove. The domestic camelids from South America that used to roam across the southern United States are now back with a purpose: To heal humans of everything 2020 has thrown at them.

Last month, reports came out that llamas could be crucial in combating the coronavirus. Turns out our wooly friends retain special nanobodies that block viruses from infecting cells. In several tests where researchers modified the nanobodies, they found that they are effective in blocking SARS-CoV-2, which is responsible for COVID-19. Like with bears, it doesn’t matter the size of the predator – the llama never backs down.

Not only are llamas helping bolster our immune systems, they’re also assisting with mental and emotional health. There’s a growing trend in the states for using llamas as therapy animals. Therapy llamas have recently been seen brightening people’s days at places like nursing homes and hospitals. In an article by the Washington Post, one such animal by the name of Caesar the No Drama Llama has taken his talents to the frontline of the protests in Portland, Oregon.

Simply the mere mention of Caesar’s name brings joy to others, so in a high-stress situation like facing militarized police, a hug from Caesar is a small miracle. His caretaker, Joel McCool, says that everywhere Caesar goes he seems to defuse built-up tensions like a Latino superhero.

At this point, it feels as though any feel-good story released in 2020 most likely has a llama involved. As we wait for a vaccine, let’s all do our part by remaining a llama’s length apart from one another and embrace our inner “llamactivist” for social change.



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