Scientists at the Institute of dairy products of Asturias (IPLA), in Spain, are currently working on the elaboration of a new yogurt that is made up of antibodies from the lama with which can fight the infection caused by rotavirus, one of the causes of gastroenteritis which affects children under five years old.
This will be done through a method in which any gene is inserted into the chromosome of lactic bacteria, in a stable way and without leaving any additional genetic information, progress made by the Group of the Institute of Molecular Microbiology.
Lama antibodies are ideal, since they have a very small protein, which makes genetic manipulation much easier.
The Coordinator of the investigation, Miguel Angel Alvarez, explained that these antibodies have the quality of being “more resistant to the conditions of the gastrointestinal tract”, as the acidity in the stomach and the enzymes that degrade the protein.
The research has been tested successfully in mice, and the Group of scientists initiated a study in collaboration with the Karolinska Institute of Stockholm (Sweden) to genetically modify Lactobacilli in order to act as immune agents.
This project has attracted the attention of several companies, and once they finish the clinical trials, the researchers hope to have a dairy product that is configured as a possible alternative or complement to oral rehydration.