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Scientists enlist cattle to create potential COVID-19 drug

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — First is was monkeys, then dogs.

Now, researchers are turning to cows in hopes of developing a treatment for the coronavirus.

Scientists at SAb Biotherapeutics in South Dakota created an embryo via genetic engineering that contains human chromosomes. The embryo was then implanted into cattle. The cows gave birth to calves that internally function similarly to a person, specifically with regards to the human immune system.

Once grown, these scientists plan to inject a noninfectious part of the coronavirus into their bloodstream. Researchers are hoping the cow’s immune system — the one that is now similar to that of a human — will attack the virus and create antibodies. If so, the antibodies will then be extracted from the cow’s blood, cleaned up and used as a potential drug to combat COVID-19.

Essentially, this method is very similar to the antibody method conducted in humans with the same intention: to infuse coronavirus-infected patients with virus-attacking cells in an effort to fight the disease.

SAb Biotherapeutics is expected to start a trial later this summer.