A Sea Sponge Might Hold Next Gen COVID Treatments

A Sea Sponge Might Hold Next Gen COVID Treatments

We’ve come a long way since the early days of the COVID pandemic. Not only do we have effective vaccines and boosters for the virus, but we’re also finding treatments in unexpected places–like Spongebob Squarepants.

In a study published on Jan. 9 in the journal Antiviral Research, researchers at the University of British Columbia identified 26 compounds found in sea sponges, plants, bacteria, and other marine organisms that were effective in fighting COVID infections. These findings may lead to more efficient antiviral treatment for coronavirus.

“This interdisciplinary research team is unraveling the important possibilities of biodiversity and natural resources and discovering nature-based solutions for global health challenges such as COVID-19,” Francois Jean, a microbiology and immunology researcher at UBC and senior author of the study, said in a statement.

The team’s new findings started with an initial study of a catalog of more than 350 compounds from different natural sources. They then placed human lung cells in a solution made of the compounds before infecting the cells with COVID-19. From this process, they were able to narrow a list of compounds of interest down to 26 that were capable of completely reducing viral infections in the lung cells.

Though the study’s authors collected compounds from sources worldwide, the three most effective ones came from their backyard in Canada: alotaketal C, which comes from a sea sponge found in B.C. Bafilomycin D is a B.C. marine bacteria. ; and holyrine A, which also comes from marine bacteria in Newfoundland. It seems that there is something (literally) in water in the Great White North.

” These compounds have the advantage that they target the cells rather than the virus. They prevent the virus from reproducing and help the cell recover,” Jimena perez-Vargas (a UBC microbiology and immunology researcher and coauthor of this study) said in a statement. She added that the compounds could even be effective against future variants as well as the flu since they target human cells rather than viruses.

The researchers plan to build on their discoveries by testing the compounds with animal subjects over the course of the next year. For now, it offers yet another glimmer of hope into building lasting and effective treatments for COVID-19–no matter what deadly variant might emerge.

” Our research also opens the door to large-scale testing natural products medicines that could block infections associated with respiratory viruses such as RSV and influenza A. Jean stated.

The article A Sea Sponge May Hold Next Generation COVID Treatments was first published on The Daily Beast .