Liverpool scientists win prestigious Royal Society prize for work on nanobodies, camels and Covid-19

Previous recipients of the award have gone on to win Nobel Prizes for their work.

<p>University of Liverpool scientists Professor Claire Eyers and Professor James Stewart of ‘Team Nanobodies’.  (Picture: University of Liverpool)</p>

University of Liverpool scientists Professor Claire Eyers and Professor James Stewart of ‘Team Nanobodies’. (Picture: University of Liverpool)

Several scientists from the University of Liverpool have received prestigious prizes for their research efforts and developments, some of which can be used to fight Covid-19.

The Royal Society of Chemistry Prizes recognise chemical scientists who carry out groundbreaking work in the industry.

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Many past winners in the RSC’s prize portfolio have gone on to win Nobel Prizes for their work.

Professor Claire Eyers from the University of Liverpool was named the winner of the RSC’s Jeremy Knowles Award in recognition of brilliance in research and innovation.

University of Liverpool scientists Professor Claire Eyers and Professor James Stewart of ‘Team Nanobodies’. (Picture: University of Liverpool)

Professor Eyers won the prize for her role in exploring the protein components of cells and tissues and how they respond to change as a result of disease.

Speaking about the award, she said: “I’m incredibly honoured and excited that the science my team has been working on for so many years has been recognised by this prestigious award.”

A team of scientists known as ‘Team Nanobodies’, featuring University of Liverpool researchers Professor James Stewart, Professor Anja Kipar, Professor Andrew Owen, Dr Jordan Clark and Dr Parul Sharma received the RSC’s Chemistry Biology Interface Division Horizon Prize.

The Horizon Prize celebrates the most exciting contemporary chemical science at the cutting edge of research and innovation.

‘Team Nanobodies’ won the prize for the development of tools to assist in the fight against Covid-19.

The team’s research has shown that nanobodies – a smaller form of antibody produced by llamas and camels – can target the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19.

The Nanobody, which can be produced in large quantities in the laboratory, significantly reduced signs of the Covid-19 disease when given to infected animals.

Ray Owens of Team Nanobodies said: “Our work has shown the potential of engineered nanobodies for the diagnosis and treatment of viral diseases, exemplified by COVID-19.

“There is still a long way to go before these proof of concept studies could be translated into clinical use, but the relatively low cost of manufacturing nanobody based products makes them attractive alternatives to human antibodies for many applications in medicine.”