Studies testing the effectiveness of antivirals to treat COVID-19 demonstrate that extracts from edible seaweed proved substantially more effective at blocking the SAR-Cov-2 virus than the antiviral drug Remdesivir. Heparin, a widely-used blood thinner, and a heparin-variant that was stripped of its anticoagulant properties performed as well as Remdesivir, in blocking infection by SARS-CoV-2 in cells from mammals.
Tests also showed the compounds were not toxic, even at the highest-administered concentration
The research from the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies (CBIS) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York was recently published in the journal, “Cell Discovery.” This research is an example of using a “decoy strategy” in the search for weapons against the novel Coronavirus.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus can be tricked into binding with a decoy molecule that offers the same “fit” as the ACE- 2 receptor, a protein found on the surface of human cells. The virus would be “quarantined” and would degrade naturally.
In other studies, this method has been shown to be effective in trapping other viruses, including Dengue, Zika, and Influenza A.
Jonathan Dordick, the lead researcher and a professor of chemical and biological engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute said, “The reality is that we don’t have great antivirals. To protect ourselves against future pandemics, we are going to need an arsenal of approaches that we can quickly adapt to emerging viruses.”