Ostrich antibodies are sought for their health and lifestyle properties. In Japan, people use ostrich antibody products to prevent hair loss, treat problematic skin, and even wear them as a surgical mask. Why Japan? Because the production of ostrich antibodies was spearheaded by professor Yasuhiro Tsukamoto from the Kyoto Prefectural University, whose research has been recognised by the Japan Science and Technology Agency and Japan’s Ministry of Health.
As the largest bird on Earth, ostriches have ancestors dating back over 56 million years ago, and have a lifespan of up to 70 years. Because of this, they develop a powerful immune response through natural selection. When bird-related diseases affected and killed many species of birds, ostriches were one of the least affected. It is their strong immune system which lead to the research of using their antibodies as a medical application, more recently, as a dengue fever solution.
Their antibodies carry traits more promising than other animal-derived antibodies.
Typically, antibodies from mammals such as mice and rats are used for production, but these are not resistant to human stomach acids. Ostrich antibodies can withstand digestive acids and enzymes, making them suitable for use in oral food supplements or treating enteric diseases.
Most flu vaccines originate from chicken eggs. Ostriches hold an advantage over chicken in that they carry more antibodies than other birds, producing four grams of antibodies per egg. Over their lifetime, an ostrich hen can produce more than 20 kilograms of antibodies.
However, ostrich antibodies have not been formally tested in humans, yet, but when it happens, it will be egg-citing news!
News on APBN editorial board: This month, we welcome Dr. William Haskins, the CEO and co-founder of Gryphon Bio, as an editorial board member. His company develops precision medicine to accelerate brain repair and improve cognition.
This month we also say farewell to our writer, Catherine Ong. She has written many feature articles for APBN, her most recent works talks about mastectomy (Vol 22 No. 10), attending Porex’s plant opening in Malaysia (Vol 22 No. 7), and writing about her own food allergy (Vol 21 No. 12).
On her last day in office, she gave the team a bar of Kit Kat each. Her reason? “Always remember to take a break!” We thank her for her contributions and wish her all the very best!
Lim Guan Yu