Llama blood clue to beating all flu 大羊駝血液中藏有戰勝所有流感病毒的線索

US scientists have used llamas to develop a new therapy that could potentially beat flu. Why is llama blood so special?
What secret could llama blood hold?

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一組美國科學家在試圖研發一種新型抗流感療法的過程中請來了一位意想不到的 “同伴”—大羊駝。研究人員用羊駝的血液製造出了一種新的抗體療法,這種療法有可能消滅所有類型的流感病毒,包括突然暴發的流行病毒。

文字稿

The influenza virus is the ultimate shape-shifter. It’s constantly mutating its appearance to evade our immune system. That’s why a new flu jab is needed each winter and why the vaccine sometimes misses its mark.

流行性感冒病毒是終極的變形怪。它不斷地改變它的外觀以逃避我們的免疫系統。這就是為什麼人們每年冬天都需要注射新的流感預防針,也是疫苗有時無法奏效的原因。

Science is on the hunt for a way to kill all types of flu, no matter the strain or how much it mutates. That’s where the llama, better known for its wool, comes in. The animals produce incredibly tiny antibodies. These weapons of the immune system are able to wriggle their way deep inside the flu virus to find the parts it cannot mutate.

人們在利用科學來尋找一種能戰勝所有類型流感的方法,不管是哪種病毒,也不管它變異了多少。雖然大羊駝更多地以其身上的羊毛而為人所知,但在對抗流感的戰斗中,它也能派上用場。這種動物產生的抗體極其微小。這些免疫系統的武器能夠設法深入流感病毒的內部,從而找到病毒無法變異的部分。

The team at the Scripps Institute in California picked four of the most potent llama antibodies to design their own synthetic antibody. It was tested on mice, which were given deadly doses of influenza.

美國加州斯克里普斯研究所的這支團隊從大羊駝的血液中選取了四種最強效的抗體來製作合成抗體。研究人員給老鼠注射了致命劑量的流感病毒,從而測試合成抗體的藥效。

The hope is this antibody can be given to people at the start of every winter or during a flu pandemic. This is early-stage research and the team want to do more tests before starting human trials and there are questions about mass production and cost. But maybe llama blood holds the secret to saving hundreds of thousands of lives from flu each year.

人們希望這種抗體能在每年初冬之際和在流感病毒大規模爆發時給人們使用。這仍是早期的研究,研究小組想在展開人體試驗之前做更多的測試,同時他們對於批量生產此藥物和其成本方面仍存有疑慮。然而,大羊駝的血液中也許就藏著每年可以拯救成千上萬生命的秘密。

1. 詞彙

influenza 流行性感冒
shape-shifter 變化多端的事物
mutating 變異
evade 逃避、躲開
flu jab 流感預防針
vaccine 疫苗
misses its mark 沒能奏效
on the hunt 正在尋找線索
strain 品種,種類
llama 大羊駝
antibodies 抗體
wriggle their way inside 試圖鑽進…中
potent 有效的,強有力的
deadly 致命的
doses 劑量
pandemic 流行病
human trials 人體試驗
mass production 大規模生產、批量生產
holds the secret to 可以解開…之謎

2. 閱讀理解:請在讀完上文後,回答下列問題 。

1. Why is a new flu jab needed each winter?

2. What is it about llamas’ blood that gives scientists clues to beat flu?

3. True or false? The team at the Scripps Institute in California tested their antibody on humans.

4. Which word in the text means ‘made from artificial material’?

3. 答案

1. Why is a new flu jab needed each winter?
A new flu jab is needed each winter because the influenza virus is the ultimate shape-shifter. It’s constantly mutating its appearance to evade our immune system.

2. What is it about llamas’ blood that gives scientists clues to beat flu?
Llamas produce incredibly tiny antibodies. These weapons of the immune system are able to wriggle their way deep inside the flu virus to find the parts it cannot mutate.

3. True or false? The team at the Scripps Institute in California tested their antibody on humans.
False. According to the text, it was only tested on mice. This is early-stage research and the team want to do more tests before starting human trials.

4. Which word in the text means ‘made from artificial material’?
Synthetic.

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