A vaccine will be introduced and potential treatments will be tested to see if they can cure Covid. However, for the foreseeable future, the coronavirus will remain a threat to society.
As a result, scientists are still looking for ways members of the public can reduce their risk of infection and prevent severe symptoms when they become infected.
One way that scientists are exploring is the role of food science and nutrition. Scientific studies and studies have shown that various supermarket items can potentially be helpful in the fight against the coronavirus.
There are many theories about the protective function of common supplements such as omega-3, vitamin D, and melatonin, but other foods can also help.
MailOnline looks at six items that can be bought at your local supermarket and that various teams of experts have found useful in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
All claim the items should be considered for future clinical trials due to possible health benefits, but Dr. Sarah Berry, a food science reader at King & # 39; s College London, tells MailOnline that the best way to use food to maximize protection from Covid-19 is to follow a traditional, healthy, varied diet.
"The way we think about our food is in terms of food choices rather than a 'magic bullet'," she says.
Various studies have examined the role of different foods in preventing severe coronavirus Covon-19 infection. These include algae and grapefruit-based nasal sprays, dark chocolate, tuna, and kefir
Institution: Bohai University, China
Tuna, fresh or canned, is a hugely popular food around the world, and in 2019 the British spent more than £ 400 million on the fish.
It has long been hailed as a good source of vitamin B12 because it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and high in protein. However, it still has to be considered for its role in fighting the coronavirus.
A scientific paper published in Food Chemistry in October examined proteins derived from tuna and whether they play a role in preventing coronavirus infection.
The researchers studied peptides that are made from the same building blocks as proteins, but are smaller and come from tuna.
They used computer systems to model how 142 peptides, produced when tuna are digested by the body, react with two key aspects of coronavirus infection – the enzyme Mpro and the receptor ACE2.
A peptide called E-M is produced when tuna is digested by the body. It can prevent the coronavirus from binding to the ACE2 receptor and also inhibit its ability to replicate
Known as the coronavirus gateway into human cells, ACE2 is attacked by the spike protein that protrudes from the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19. It makes the receptor let it into the cell, and from here the pathogen multiplies and spreads, which leads to disease.
Mpro is a lesser-known player that researchers have also targeted. Its full name is "Major Protease" and it is an enzyme produced by the coronavirus that is critical for the virus to replicate.
The digital replication of interactions between the 142 tuna-based peptides and both Mpro and ACE2 shows that one, called E-M, can disrupt the normal processes of the virus.
The peptide interacts with 13 different amino acids on Mpro and forms strong bonds with two of them that the researchers say "may play an important role in inhibiting the activity of Mpro".
If Mpro is prevented from functioning properly, the virus cannot replicate properly and therefore cannot spread from cell to cell.
The researchers also believe that E-M binds to ten sites on ACE2, eight of which are believed to be critical in binding the receptor to the coronavirus spike protein.
"These results showed that the peptide E-M can be viewed as a potential inhibitor for SARS-CoV-2," say the researchers in their paper.
Hannah Whittaker, a spokeswoman for the British Dietetic Association (BDA), told MailOnline: & # 39; Research shows that a protein in tuna (EM) binds to a receptor and could potentially block SARS-CoV-2 binding.
"People may feel that more tuna is preventing them from getting COVID. However, this is likely wrong and excessive intake of tuna can also have negative health effects due to the high levels of mercury."
Pictured left: The tuna E-M peptide when it binds to the human ACE2 receptor. It can bind to SARS-CoV virus spikes and prevent them from binding. In the picture on the right: the E-M peptide in its position on the Mpro enzyme, which allows the virus to replicate
2. Dark chocolate and grapes
Institute: North Carolina State University
Flavanols are a group of chemical compounds found in many different foods, including green tea, muscadin grapes, dark chocolate, blueberries, and wine.
They have been linked to various health benefits, including improved blood flow to the legs over 60 and improved mental agility.
Wanted to find out if a subgroup known as flavan-3-ol can boost a person's immune system to fight the coronavirus, researchers from the US focused on the Mpro enzyme mentioned above.
"Mpro in SARS-CoV-2 is required for the virus to replicate and assemble," said study author Professor De-Yu Xie. "If we can inhibit or deactivate this protease, the virus will die."
The study published in the journal Frontiers in Plant Science in December found that flavan-3-ols can bind to Mpro, thereby impairing its function and thus impairing its ability to replicate and spread.
"Green tea contains five chemical compounds tested that bind to various locations in Mpro's pocket, essentially overwhelming them to impair their function," Xie said.
"Muscadine grapes contain these inhibitory chemicals in their skin and in their seeds."
In their study, the researchers write that Covid-19 does not yet contain any effective medicine. & # 39; These data suggest that these nutraceutical compounds and green tea, grape and cocoa extracts can be used to interfere with the destruction of SARS-Cov -2 & # 39 ;.
Flavanols are a group of chemical compounds found in many different foods, including green tea, muscadin grapes (right), dark chocolate (left), blueberries, and wine
Institution: Alexandria University, Egypt and Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
A yogurt-like liquid made from fermented milk and grains, kefir is a good source of protein and calcium.
It has previously been linked to relieving IBS symptoms, as well as improving blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
The researchers submitted a study in the journal Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy for publication in January 2021. Kefir has various antiviral properties that enable it to fight coronavirus infection.
"In terms of human health, kefir has antiviral, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory potential," the researchers write.
The scientists reviewed the research on kefir and analyzed its probiotic properties, its track record of antiviral effects against infections like dengue, Zika and Hepatiti C, and how it can interact with the coronavirus.
Kefir (pictured) is a drink made from fermented milk and grains that is a yogurt-like liquid that is more of a drink than a sour-tasting food. Researchers believe it can prevent and curb the potentially fatal "cytokine storm" in some severe Covid patients
One of the most dangerous aspects of Covid-19 is that some people with serious illness can have their immune systems messed up and overproduce molecules called cytokines.
This can lead to a phenomenon called a "cytokine storm" which can cause severe inflammation and can be fatal if not checked.
In the study, the researchers say, "Kefir may act as an anti-inflammatory agent … so kefir could be a significant inhibitor of the" cytokine storm "that is contributing to COVID-19."
It does this by inhibiting the production of known cytokines called IL-6, IL-1, TNF-α, and interferon-γ, which are believed to be responsible for the overreaction.
"One proposed first solution to protecting patients from the cytokine storm is to block IL-6 function or to administer a compound to suppress inflammation," the researchers write.
'Kefir can inhibit the activity of proinflammatory cytokines. Using kefir (and its byproducts) as an inhibitor of proinflammatory cytokine expression in COVID-19 patients could be a viable strategy. & # 39;
"Based on all of the studies done on kefir and its probiotic microbes, kefir can act as a protective agent against viral infections."
Dr. Berry told MailOnline it was plausible that kefir could be beneficial given its long history of success as a probiotic.
"We know that probiotics can act on the microbiome and modulate our immune response, and we know it can reduce our inflammatory response," she says.
4. Grapefruit Seed Extract
Institute: Nova Southeastern University, Florida and Aventura Pulmonary Institute, Miami
Xlear is a nasal spray that has been around for years and its main purpose is to cleanse the nose. It's made from grapefruit seed extract and xylitol, a short carbon-based molecule
Xlear is a nasal spray that has been around for several years and its main purpose is to cleanse the nose. It's made from grapefruit seed extract and xylitol, a short carbon-based molecule.
However, new research published online on the pre-print server biorXiv shows that it may have antiviral properties.
The scientists carried out two experiments and found that the grapefruit seed extract at a concentration of just 0.2 percent could lower the amount of SARS-CoV-2 below the detectable levels.
On December 8th, Xlear announced that it had submitted a pre-emergency (pre-EUA) application to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to use Xlear nasal spray as a hygiene tool to combat SARS-CoV -2 virus.
The filing is based on Xlear's benefits in clearing the nose and potentially viruses, but is also based on a study found to have antiviral and virucidal properties.
"The exact mechanism of how both xylitol and grapefruit seed extract work is not fully understood, but based on our studies and visualization experiments, it appears to prevent the virus from entering the cell and is also virucidal," said Dr. Marcos Sanchez-Gonzalez, co-author of the study, told MailOnline.
He says a case series published by the group suggests that using Xlear as part of medical treatment can result in Covid-19 patients testing negative in just four days.
Larger clinical trials are already underway to see if the spray, which can be purchased online for £ 10, can reduce the spread of the virus and improve recovery.
Dr. Sanchez-Gonzalez adds, “We encourage people to use Xlear even if they are not infected. However, as our case series shows, it can be used at the same time as medical treatment.
"Aside from some discomfort immediately after the nasal spray, no side effects or safety issues were reported by the patients."
The exact mechanism of how both xylitol and grapefruit seed extract work is not fully understood, the researchers admit, but are pushing for FDA approval for its use to aid general hygiene due to the Covid-19 pandemic
The DreamLab project uses phones to advance coronavirus research
Experts from Imperial College London have teamed up with Vodafone on the DreamLab project, which allows people to use their smartphones to create math equations all night to aid ongoing research.
Called Corona-AI, it studies the potential of "hyperfoods" to fight the virus after it infects a person.
So far, leading indicators from the study suggest that a wide variety of foods can be used, including berries, oranges, broccoli, and garlic.
This study is ongoing and will require the public to use their phones to process the enormous amount of data required to advance the study. The researchers say the results won't be released until December 2021.
5. Preservatives in a can
Institute: Visva-Bharati University, India
Nisin is a natural food preservative made by bacteria and found in many canned foods. It is also known under the E number E234 and is a long-chain peptide made of carbon atoms, in which 34 different amino acids occur.
It was first identified in fermented milk and is now used worldwide as a natural and safe food preservative in a wide variety of products such as processed cheese, milk desserts, milk, fermented beverages, meat and canned foods.
Indian scientists examined whether nisin works as an antiviral agent against the coronavirus and had their work peer-reviewed and accepted for publication in the January 2021 issue of Virology magazine.
It shows for the first time that the peptide can block the ACE2 receptor, preventing SARS-CoV-2 from binding to it and infecting cells.
Eight different variants of nisin have been studied and four (nisin H, Z, U and A) have a stronger affinity for the ACE2 receptor than the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.
Ms. Whittaker told MailOnline, "The authors found that nisin H acted as a potential competitor (the receptor binding domain of the virus' s spike protein) for access to the hACE2 receptor, thereby stopping COVID binding and entering cells."
"The study shows for the first time that a food preservative used around the world, nisin, has the potential to bind to ACE2," the scientists write in the study.
Computer models were used to assess the binding of the peptides to ACE2 in a process similar to the study that found that the tuna-derived protein E-M can inhibit coronavirus replication.
& # 39; Nisin is a low molecular weight peptide and is easily bioavailable in the system. Its binding to hACE2 is expected to exceed the ability of the RBD to interact with the SARS-CoV-2 spike and could essentially preclude virus entry into the host cell, & # 39; You write.
"This work will generate greater interest among researchers in developing a new nisin-based treatment strategy for COVID-19, either by oral or nasal administration."
Nisin is a natural food preservative also known as the "E number" E234. It was first identified in fermented milk and is now used worldwide as a natural and safe food preservative in a wide variety of products such as processed cheese, milk desserts, milk, fermented beverages, meat and canned foods
Institute: Swansea University
Swansea University has started human trials with this Boots nasal spray to see if it can help stop the coronavirus
Carrageenan is a form of edible seaweed with a red color that was used to treat respiratory diseases in 19th century Ireland.
A patented version of the plant is also the main ingredient in a nasal spray, which costs £ 5.99 for 20ml and is only available from Boots.
The so-called Dual Defense formulation is made by the Austrian company Marinomed and Boots is the only UK company approved for sale.
Swansea University researchers, following successful laboratory studies of the over-the-counter medicine, have begun human trials that have been found to prevent infection and reduce the severity of symptoms when people get Covid-19.
The process known as ICE-COVID is currently running with 480 frontline NHS staff in the Welsh city involved in the project. The results are expected to be published in May 2021.
Dr. Zita Jessop, study co-lead at Swansea University, said, "Previous studies have highlighted the effectiveness of iota-carrageenan-based nasal sprays against coronavirus, suggesting a promise against SARS-Cov-2.
"If the results of this randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial are positive as expected, it can lead to an additional prevention strategy in the fight against COVID-19."
The seaweed for the boat spray is sourced from Zanzibar and the Philippines and the Dual Defense formulation is produced by the Austrian company Marinomed.
For the boat spray, carrageenan is obtained from Zanzibar and the Philippines and the Dual Defense formulation is produced by the Austrian company Marinomed
No "silver bullet"
Dr. Berry told MailOnline that while these foods may have some benefit, the best way to stay healthy is to have a balanced diet.
“We don't eat individual foods or nutrients, we consume mixed foods that create a nutritional pattern. This will have an impact on our overall health, ”she said.
“We know that there are certain food groups that are linked to an inflammatory response or poor immune function, but there is no single food that offers protection or inhibits inflammation.
“Foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and cutting down on processed foods that we know inhibit immune responses like processed meat are good.
“Combining good foods and reducing bad foods is the approach we should take instead of focusing on one particular food. It is important to promote a varied diet. & # 39;
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