JUL 26, 2020 10:33 AM PDT

Seaweed Extract Outperforms Remdesivir in Blocking COVID-19

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

An extract from seaweed has outperformed Remdesivir in ousting COVID-19 during cellular tests, according to new research. 

The research is part of a larger body of research investigating a 'decoy strategy' against viruses such as COVID-19. This strategy works by urging the virus to 'latch' onto decoys rather than healthy human cells, where it then becomes trapped, neutralized and eventually destroyed. 

In the case of COVID-19, the spike protein on the surface of SARS-CoV-2 attaches onto a molecule on the surface of human cells known as the ACE_2 receptor. Once attached, it then inserts its own genetic material inside the cell so it can begin to replicate. Usage of the right decoy would mean that SARS-CoV-2 may be 'distracted' away from human cells and, instead of being able to replicate and cause havoc in the human body, be destroyed. Previous findings have shown thta the strategy works in ousting other viruses like Dengue, Zika and Influenza A. 

For the present findings, researchers from the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies (CBIS) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute tested antiviral activity in five compounds. These were three variants of heparin (a common blood thinner) and two fucoidans, extracted from seaweed. All five compounds are long chains of sugar molecules. 

The researchers conducted a dose-response study known as an EC50 with each of the compounds against SARS-CoV-2 in mammalian cells. In the end, they found that seaweed extract RPI-27 had significantly better antiviral effects than Remdesivir. While Remdesivir has an EC50 value of 770 nanomolar, RPI-27 had an EC50 value of around 83 nanomolar (the lower the value, the better). 

"What interests us is a new way of getting at infection," says Professor Robert Linhardt, one of the study's authors. "The current thinking is that the COVID-19 infection starts in the nose, and either of these substances could be the basis for a nasal spray. If you could simply treat the infection early, or even treat before you have the infection, you would have a way of blocking it before it enters the body." 

 

Sources: Science DailyEarth.com 

About the Author
  • Science writer with keen interests in technology and behavioral biology. Her current focus is on the interplay between these fields to create meaningful interactions, applications and environments.
You May Also Like
JUL 20, 2020
Cancer
Fighting Cancer with Black Pepper
JUL 20, 2020
Fighting Cancer with Black Pepper
In the never-ending search for the next treatment or cure, many researchers turn towards nature. The study of black pepp ...
JUL 19, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Nanodrug for Treating Invasive Breast Cancer
JUL 19, 2020
Nanodrug for Treating Invasive Breast Cancer
Scientists at the University of Arkansas created a nano-drug that may eradicate triple-negative breast cancer cells. Fin ...
AUG 01, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Harnessing The Power of Synthetic Lethality
AUG 01, 2020
Harnessing The Power of Synthetic Lethality
Studies into genome sequencing has pushed researchers to harness the power of "synthetic lethality" in exploit ...
AUG 24, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
New Drug Reduces Swelling in Asthma and COPD
AUG 24, 2020
New Drug Reduces Swelling in Asthma and COPD
Researchers from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and the University of Technology Sydney in Australia have identifi ...
SEP 03, 2020
Immunology
A Low-Cost COVID-19 Treatment, Made in Horses
SEP 03, 2020
A Low-Cost COVID-19 Treatment, Made in Horses
Researchers in Costa Rica are turning to horses as an unlikely source of potential therapeutic antibodies against COVID- ...
SEP 11, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Single Injection Sends Type 2 Diabetes into Remission
SEP 11, 2020
Single Injection Sends Type 2 Diabetes into Remission
Type 2 diabetes affects around 10% of people in the US. Although there is no cure for it, there are some well-known meth ...
Loading Comments...