Canadian sponges could hold a cure for COVID-19

An international study has identified three compounds that prevent COVID-19 infection in humans. These are all from natural sources, including a type of sponge found in British Columbia.

Scientists scoured a catalog of over 350 compounds from various natural sources, including plants, fungi and sponges, in search of new antiviral drugs to treat variants of COVID-19.

Twenty-six compounds were found to completely reduce viral infection, but three were identified as the most effective. Arotaketal C from sponges. Bafilomycin D from marine bacteria. Holilin A from marine bacteria collected from all Canadian waters.

After soaking human lung cells in a solution made with these compounds and infecting the cells with SARS-CoV-2, researchers found that all three were effective in preventing COVID-19 infection, even in small doses. I found that it is relevant.

Epoch Times photo
Author Jimena Perez-Vargas working in the lab. (Paul Joseph)

“The advantage of these compounds is that they target cells rather than viruses, block viral replication and help cells recover,” said Jimena Pérez, a researcher in microbiology and immunology at the University of British Columbia (UBC). – said Vargas. she said.

“Human cells evolve more slowly than viruses, so these compounds may work against future variants and other viruses, such as influenza, if they use the same mechanism.”

Senior author and Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at UBC. François Jean said all three compounds were effective against Delta and several Omicron variants and were “almost as safe for human cells as current COVID-19 treatments.” rice field.

However, he pointed out that many current treatments are becoming less effective due to mutations in the virus.

“Many of these treatments are no longer effective against the currently circulating Omicron subspecies as the virus evolves. This highlights the need for new antiviral agents. said Jean.

Paving the way for future treatments

Published At the National Library of Medicine, scientists said the discovery was a promising starting point for developing a cure. There may be an abundance of new antiviral agents.

The next step in the research is animal testing over the next six months.

“Our research also paves the way for large-scale testing of natural product medicines that can block infections associated with other respiratory viruses, such as influenza A and RSV,” Zhang said.

Jesse Chan

Jessie Zhang is a Sydney-based reporter covering Australian news with a focus on health and the environment. Please contact her at [email protected]