Indian Scientists Explore Algal Drug to Combat COVID-19

Algae Based Covid-19

Scientists in India are exploring algal metabolites to combat Covid-19.

Atul Gautam writes in the Free Press Journal that a study by three scientists from Indore revealed that algae can produce an effective drug for Covid-19. Metabolites commonly found in algae have been found to be effective as anti-viral. The three scientists observed that cheap and effective medicine can be made from algae against Covid-19.

Two faculty members of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and one of Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya (DAVV) jointly carried out the research which was published in international research journal Phytotherapy on November 18. The research team includes Dr. Kiran Bala and Prof. Hemachandra Jha from IIT Indore and Dr. Hemendra Singh Parmar from DAVV.

Kiran Bala has been conducting research on algae and their metabolites for a long time. While Jha is a virus specialist and Parmar is a specialist in disease biology and drug discovery. Jha and Parmar are also involved in research related to Covid-19 virus at Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and other parts of the country.

According to the research scientists, due to frequent mutations of the coronavirus, many strains have been found so far. “In such a situation, the impact of the vaccine may be limited. Algae can make broad spectrum anti-viral drugs. Broad spectrum means that these drugs have a similar effect on different strains of viruses,” they said. According to the study, broad spectrum anti-viral is obtained from metabolites found in algae.

Some of these carbohydrates and proteins have been identified in research. Carbohydrates include carrageenan, galactans, fucoidan, ulavan, exopolysaccharides, navicula, nostoflan, alginate, and calcium spirulan. These carbohydrates of algae have so far been found to be effective in the use of molecular mechanisms on viruses such as AIDS, influenza, coronavirus, dengue adenovirus, sitomagalo virus, and human leukemia. Similarly, some proteins found in algae which are known to be effective on many viruses, measles, herpes, AIDS, hepatitis, influenza and Ebola.

Algae metabolites have been found to be effective in preventing the virus from attaching to the cell, preventing replication of the virus, and preventing the virus from spreading from one cell to another.

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