Antivirals Against SARS-CoV2: Relevance to the Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease
It is a new dawn of times for seaweed and related research efforts. This week, we focus on Alzheimer's Disease with two unique studies using our seaweeds already available in our Infinimin® and Infiniderm® brands!!
Alzheimer's disease (AD) accounts for >80% of dementia cases in the United States. Histopathological studies of the AD-affected brains demonstrate the presence of amyloid beta (Aβ) plaques and neurofibrillary tangles (NFT). Aβ accumulation is thought to play a role in the neuronal damage found in AD. Currently there is no available disease-modifying drug for AD, the five approved AD therapy drugs only alleviate some symptoms of the disease. Thus, drugs or natural measures, which act on the pathognomonic (characteristic for a particular disease) mechanism(s) of AD are needed.
First Study Summary
A recent study in vitro has shown that a sulphated polysaccharide, a type of fucoidan, has potent antiviral activity against SARS-Cov2. If the antiviral action were successful also for COVID-19 patients, it would be enormously valuable against not only acute disease but also long-term mental effects, which might include Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In a trial of AD patients, the apparent success of treatment with a polysaccharide, (fucoidan from seaweed species, Laminaria Japonica (aka Saccharina Japonica), acronym given, "GV971"), was suggested to result from antiviral action against herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1) in brain, a pathogen strongly implicated in AD, and that sulphation GV971 might increase its putative antiviral action. These data indicate that treatment of AD patients might be very effective using valacyclovir, a conventional antiviral, which inhibits viral replication, together with a fucoidan, which
blocks virus entry into cells.
Further research is needed, but fucoidan, from seaweed species, may be a replacement for valacyclovir in the short future as more antiviral research is showing it to be more effective and efficient in terms of blocking viral entry of enveloped viruses (e.g. Herpes Simplex 1, HIV, Influenza, SARs-COVID).
Second Study Summary
This study investigated the neuroprotective activities of five different fucoidan samples with different chemical compositions prepared from Fucus vesiculosus (FE, FF, and S) and Undaria pinnatifida (UE and UF) to determine if they reduced aggregation or cytotoxicity of Aβ1–42 in neuronal PC-12 cells.
Only fucoidans S, UE, and UF showed anti-aggregation effects against Aβ1–42, as determined using Thioflavin T (ThT) fluorometric fibrillisation kinetics and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) of fibril morphology.
However, all five fucoidan samples reduced the cytotoxicity of both Aβ1–42 and hydrogen peroxide in neuronal PC-12 cells and demonstrated inhibition of
apoptosis induced by Aβ1–42. Three fucoidan samples (FF, UE and UF) showed significant activity in enhancing neurite outgrowth. Fucoidan from different seaweed sources and with varying chemical compositions demonstrate a range of neuroprotective activities that may have potential to alter Aβ1–42 neurotoxicity in Alzheimer's disease.
All three seaweed species, laminaria japonica (aka saccharina japonica), undaria pinnatifida, and fucus vesiculosus are in our Infinimin® brand and fucus vesisculosus is in our Infiniderm® brand (largely as it has more evidence with regards to supporting skin health).
As always, more research is needed, but another great step in showing natural sources to promote and support health!!
Here's to your health!
~ Infinitum Health Team
Ruth F. Itzhaki. Antivirals Against SARS-CoV2: Relevance to the Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, vol. Pre-press, no. Pre-press, pp. 1-2, 2020
Accepted 29 September 2020 Published: 13 October 2020
(PDF available for download below)
Mousa Alghazwi, et. al. Comparative study on neuroprotective activities of fucoidans from Fucus vesiculosus and Undaria pinnatifida. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules 122 (2019) 255–264.
(PDF available for download below)
Kwon PS, Sulfated polysaccharides effectively inhibit SARS-CoV-2 in vitro. Cell Discov 6, 50, (2020)
R. Anand, K.D. Gill, A.A. Mahdi, Therapeutics of Alzheimer's disease: past, present
and future, Neuropharmacology 76 ( (2014) 27–50.
H.W. Querfurth, F.M. LaFerla, Alzheimer's disease, N. Engl. J. Med. 362 (2010)
J.L. Cummings, T. Morstorf, K. Zhong, Alzheimer's disease drug-development pipeline:
few candidates, frequent failures, Alzheimers Res. Ther. 6 (4) (2014) 37.