Drinking milk may help fight COVID-19, a new study finds.
Researchers at the University of Michigan found that milk from most mammals contains a protein called lactoferrin, which can inhibit the virus’ ability to multiply.
The protein also prevented the virus from infecting cells, giving it no chance to cause damage.
The research was conducted in a lab setting, not the real world, but researchers believe they have just discovered antiviral properties in a common household good.
The study, published Monday in the Journal of Dairy Science, used bovine lactoferrin, which is found in cow’s milk.
A study shows that a protein in milk called lactoferrin has antiviral properties that can prevent infection and replication of the virus. Researchers hope milk could serve as foundation for future antiviral drugs (file photo)
Experts have long known that human breast milk has antiviral properties, and the University of Michigan team believes they have found the protein that causes it.
“Bovine lactoferrin has shown antiviral activity in human clinical trials,” Dr. Jonathan Sexton, a researcher in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan, said in a statement.
“For example, orally administered bovine lactoferrin has been shown to improve the severity of viral infections, including rotavirus and norovirus.”
In fact, Sexton believes that drinking milk could even work as a post-exposure treatment to prevent a person from becoming infected.
“Given the broad antiviral efficacy and safety, minimal side effects and commercial availability of bovine lactoferrin, several review papers have suggested using it as a preventive or post-exposure treatment for SARS-CoV-2 infection,” he said.
The researchers tested the proteins against multiple strains of the virus and found it effective against all of them. They believe it will also work against future species.
One potential barrier to using milk in Covid treatments in the future is that two other chemicals in many antiviral treatments, dextrose and sorbitol, are believed to block the ability of proteins to inhibit the virus.
However, researchers found that this was not the case in their experiment.
They are sure that lactoferrin is responsible for the virus-inhibiting properties of milk, and they tested other proteins and chemicals in cow’s milk for the virus, while none other showed antiviral properties.
Although the experiment was conducted in a lab setting and there have been no human trials of the protein’s antiviral properties in humans, this finding could potentially be groundbreaking.
Milk is everywhere. It is easily accessible, relatively cheap and available in developing countries.
If regular milk can prevent even a little bit of Covid infection or more serious cases of the virus, it could change the trajectory of the pandemic.
Sexton also believes that milk could be used as a basis for potential antiviral treatments against COVID-19 in the future.
“This is especially important when there are limited treatment options, or when the treatment options are too expensive for widespread use,” he said.
“An orally available drug that covers emerging strains would be ideal for treating SARS-CoV-2 in areas without widespread vaccination or when new strains escape vaccine.”
These findings also explain why experts have discovered antiviral properties in breast milk, which may protect young babies from Covid and other viruses.
Source: | This article is originally from Dailymail.co.uk
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