Researchers may be in the early stages of discovering an effective strategy to prevent the virus that causes COVID-19, according to the results of a recent study.
The results of the findings of David A. Ostrov, Ph.D., of the University of Florida, were published in Pathogens in late November.
The report suggests that combining diphenhydramine – an antihistamine sold as Benadryl used for allergy symptoms – and lactoferrin – a protein found in cow’s milk and human milk – reduces SARS-CoV-2 replication by 99% in laboratory tests on human lungs and monkeys. cells.
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“We found out why certain drugs are active against the virus that causes COVID-19,” Ostrov told the University of Florida Health Newsroom. “Then we find an antiviral combination that can be effective, economical and has a long history of security.”
The key outcome of the research team focused on the sigma receptor, which is the protein expressed in human cells. COVID-19 “disrupts” the body’s stress-response machinery, including these receptors, so that it can reproduce inside its host. According to researchers, interfering with this process is key to preventing the virus’s potency.
“We know detailed mechanisms on how certain drugs prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection,” Ostrov said.
The research, however, is preliminary, and Ostrov warned against self-medication with either diphenhydramine or lactoferrin for the prevention of COVID-19. Ostrov said: Lactoferrin is commercially available for treating stomach and intestinal ulcers but differs slightly with the type used in the experiment.