One of the crazier, but hopeful, bits of coronavirus news this week is the report that researchers have discovered that the key to an eventual vaccine might come courtesy of llama blood, and on Thursday “The Daily Show” imagined how the pharmaceutical would market such a treatment.
For those of you not up on llama-medicine news, scientists have been researching antibodies in llama blood because the animals produce two different kinds: One identical in size and shape to human antibodies, and one smaller, small enough to become attached to viruses that can evade human antibodies. This has yielded important work in combating viruses like HIV. So it is that scientists in Belgium studying one llama — adorably named Winter — whose antibodies prevented SARS and MERS infection, have discovered that they also prevented infection by coronavirus.
Don’t get too excited — it will be months before clinical trials can begin and that doesn’t guarantee anything will come of it. But on “The Daily Show,” Trevor Noah joked that at least one pharmaceutical company is already ready to market the new medicine, and rolled out a fake prescription drug ad for “Llamanol.”
Billed as “the first prescription llama,” the fake ad explains how it works. “First, we send you a llama. Then you, uh, lick it? Or maybe just hang around with it? We don’t think you have to eat it, but uh, we’re not sure. We kind of just rushed this to market.”
The ad cautions that “side effects may include llama spit, llamas eating your lawn, llama diarrhea, getting llama wool everywhere, and becoming a Tiger King, but for llamas.”
Watch the whole clip above.