While major pharmaceutical companies rush to make the next shiny COVID-19 vaccine or therapeutic, emerging research suggests that a rather simple concoction could be the key to stopping the virus dead in its tracks.
According to Fox News, early research from David A. Ostrov, Ph.D., of the University of Florida, shows that diphenhydramine — an antihistamine sold as Benadryl that is used for allergy symptoms — combined with lactoferrin — a protein found in cow and human milk — “reduced replication of SARS-CoV-2 by 99%.”
The early tests were conducted using cells from both human lungs, and cells of monkies.
“We found out why certain drugs are active against the virus that causes COVID-19,” Ostrov said, according to Fox. “Then, we found an antiviral combination that can be effective, economical and has a long history of safety.”
How was it discovered?
In the simplest terms, researchers on the project focused on proteins in human cells known as sigma receptors.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus attacks the sigma receptors upon infection, in order to do what viruses are biologically designed to do — replicate. Researchers were able to use the concoction to stop COVID-19 viruses from replicating by interfering with the virus attacking the sigma receptors.
“We know the detailed mechanism of how certain drugs inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infection,” Ostrov said.
He warned that the research is still in its very early stage, and warned against those who might consider self-medicating with diphenhydramine or lactoferrin; without proper scientific equipment and monitoring, he said, such experimentation could lead to disaster or even death.
Ostrov added that while Lactoferrin is available commercially to treat stomach ulcers and other related problems, the type of Lactoferrin that he used in his research is a different type.
What about the pill?
News broke last week of a new pill developed by Pfizer, known as Paxlovid, that can be used to tame a COVID-19 infection, as long as the person infected with the virus takes it as early as possible upon detection of a positive test or symptoms.
As of now, the pill will only be available for those considered a moderate or severe risk for hospitalization from a COVID-19 infection. The parameters are likely to change as more data comes in and additional quantities of the pill are manufactured.
Many believe that focusing on treatments and therapeutics would have had a far greater impact on the spread of COVID-19, instead of pushing the vaccinations, which haven’t seemed to do much in the realm of slowing down the spread.