Milk protein can fight COVID-19
Scientists from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI, USA) and Glanbia PLC Research and Development (Twin Falls, ID, USA) collaborated to investigate the antiviral properties of cow’s milk proteins against these variables. of SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind the disease.
The protein in question is lactoferrin, which is found in the milk of most mammals. Bovine lactoferrin, from cow’s milk, has bioactive properties against many bacteria, viruses and other pathogens and has been found to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infection under experimental conditions. by preventing the virus’ ability to enter target cells, as well as by supporting the cell’s antiviral defense mechanism.
“Bovine lactoferrin has shown antiviral activity in human clinical trials,” said Dr. Jonathan Sexton of the University of Michigan Department of Internal Medicine.
“For example, bovine lactoferrin taken orally has been shown to improve the severity of viral infections, including rotavirus and norovirus. With broad antiviral efficacy and safety, efficacy With minimal side effects and availability of bovine lactoferrin, several review literature have suggested its use as a prophylactic or post-exposure treatment for SARS-CoV-2 infection.”
With the goal of improving clinical relevance and transmissibility, the team tested bovine lactoferrin against some of the most common SARS-CoV-2 variants of worldwide interest, including including variant WA1 representing the outbreak in the United States in 2020, B. Variants 1.1.7, B.1.351 and P.1 and variant Delta.
Sexton explains, “Each of these variants included modifications to the SARS-Cov-2 mutant protein that reduced the effectiveness of the newly manufactured vaccine. Furthermore, each of these strains showed decreased neutralization due to the virus. vaccination serum.”
The team’s aim for this study was to extend the observation of the strong in vitro efficacy against SARS-CoV-2 that bovine lactoferrin demonstrated with a more thorough examination, as well as screening of the products. commercially available milk for antiviral activities. may be enhanced by the presence of ingredients other than lactoferrin.
Finally, they investigated whether dextrose and sorbitol, commonly used in the manufacture of oral tablets, interfered with lactoferrin’s ability to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 in cows.
The researchers found that bovine lactoferrin was effective against all strains tested in vitro, and they hope it will also be active against other emerging strains.
The other ingredients in commercial dairy products do not appear to provide antiviral protection, confirming that the efficacy of these products appears to be entirely dependent on bovine lactoferrin. Furthermore, the team found that dextrose and sorbitol did not reduce the effectiveness of bovine lactoferrin against SARS-CoV-2 – indicating the feasibility of developing an anti-COVID pill.
The main benefit of lactoferrin’s widespread antiviral efficacy is its ability to prevent or treat emerging diseases.
“This is especially important when there are limited treatment options, or when treatment options are too expensive for widespread use, or if new strains escape the vaccine,” Sexton stressed.
Although future work is needed to fully understand the antiviral potential for bovine lactoferrin in a clinical setting, this test-tube study presents promise for another tactic in the battle against the virus. against the global COVID-19 pandemic.