The COVID 19 novel coronavirus pandemic 2020: seaweeds to the rescue?
Why does substantial, supporting research about the antiviral properties of seaweed polysaccharides seem to go unrecognized by the pharmaceutical community in these
A unique article highlighting the antiviral capabilities of seaweeds, like the three species found in our Infinimin® and Infiniderm® brands, and their innate ability to inhibit viral binding of enveloped and non enveloped viruses.
At this current point in human history (April 2020), global society faces a Herculean challenge in combating the pandemic COVID-19. Presently, there is lack of a vaccine that would lead to immunization against this virus, but here are some of the characteristics that various seaweeds have and which may provide a glimpse into potential solutions of this global health problem in the near future and possibly forearm us for any future such pandemics.
The current outbreak of an acute respiratory disease associated with a coronavirus, called coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19), is the third documented leak of an animal coronavirus for humans in just two decades, which resulted in a major epidemic (the 19 epithet refers only to the year it was reported, 2019). The Coronaviridae Study Group (CSG) of the International Virus Taxonomy Committee, responsible for the development of the virus classification and nomenclature of the taxa of the Coronaviridae family, evaluated the placement of the human pathogen, provisionally named 2019-nCoV,
within the Coronaviridae. Based on phylogeny, taxonomy, and established practice, the CSG recognizes this virus as a clone associated with the coronavirus prototype of the severe acute human respiratory syndrome and bat (SARS-CoVs) of the coronavirus species related to severe acute respiratory syndrome, referred to as SARS-CoV-2
Interestingly, the low initial levels of COVID-19 infection in Japan, specifically in Hokkaido, were possibly related to the traditional and widespread consumption of seaweed and the regular supply of iodine in their diet.
Acute viral upper respiratory tract infection, also known as the common cold, is the most frequently observed infectious disease in human beings. Children get four to eight upper respiratory infections per year, and adults suffer from two to four episodes per year. In most of cases, the common cold is caused by respiratory viruses such as rhinovirus, coronavirus, parainfluenza, influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, adenovirus, enterovirus, and metapneumovirus. Interestingly, the administration of a carrageenan (a common compound found in seaweed, along with fucoidan) nasal spray, in children as well as in adults, suffering from virus-confirmed common cold reduced the duration of disease, increased viral clearance, and reduced relapses of symptoms. Carrageenan
nasal spray appeared as an effective treatment of the common cold in children (sometimes recognized as “super-shedders”) and adults.
Another nasal spray containing only iota-carrageenan and fucoidan, together with “zanamivir,” was shown to provide an easy-to-apply treatment of upper respiratory tract infections in patients under suspicion of infection by influenza A (H1N1). Patients were found to benefit from the fast and efficient treatment of an uncomplicated influenza of the upper respiratory tract. Due to faster clearance of the influenza virus from the upper respiratory tract and the independent anti-viral mechanism of carrageenan and “zanamivir,” the likelihood of developing escaped mutations against “zanamivir” would be reduced. Both individual compounds can reduce the severity and/or duration of the
influenza illness, and a combination is expected to work similarly, if not synergistically.
Additionally, due to the broad antiviral effectiveness of carrageenan, patients would receive, in parallel, a concomitant treatment for additional viral infections. Therefore, patients would benefit from a decreased probability for the development of further complications. In consideration of the complications known to accompany an influenza virus illness, this combinational therapy meets an urgent medical need.
In recent years, the constant outbreak of some emerging or re-emerging viral diseases has caused serious harm to human health. During the last decades, the number of antiviral products approved for clinical use has been increased from 5 to more than 30 drugs. Many species of marine algae contain significant quantities of complex structural sulphated polysaccharides that have been shown to inhibit the replication of enveloped viruses. Other compounds, both of red algae (e.g., the lectin griffithsin), and other sulphated polysaccharides extracted from green algae (i.e. ulvans),and brown algae (i.e. fucoidans) could be potential antiviral therapeutic agents against COVID-19 and future viruses if embedded into the population food chain.
Pereira, et. al. "The COVID 19 novel coronavirus pandemic 2020: seaweeds
to the rescue? Why does substantial, supporting research
about the antiviral properties of seaweed polysaccharides seemto go
unrecognized by the pharmaceutical community in these
desperate times?" Journal of Applied Phycology. 27 April 2020
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