Compound is derived from banana fruit

Therapy derived from a banana protein might work against SARS-CoV-2

A paper in Cell Reports Medicine details the efficacy of H84T-BanLec against all known human-infecting coronaviruses. This includes MERS (the original SARS) and SARS-CoV2, including the omicron variant.

The paper was written by David Markovitz M.D., Peter Hinterdorfer, Ph.D. and Kwok-Yung Yuen, MBBS, M.D.

H84T-BanLec is derived from a lectin (a carbohydrate-binding protein) isolated from banana fruit. It accomplishes its remarkable viral-blocking abilities by a binding action. After binding, the virus cannot enter cells to infect them.

“When COVID-19 occurred, we of course wanted to study the therapy’s potential and discovered it was effective against every type of coronavirus, in vitro and in vivo,” said David Markovitz, M.D., professor of internal medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Michigan Medical School. “Whether delivered systemically or through the nose in animal models, or prophylactically or therapeutically early on in the illness, it worked.”

H84T-BanLec holds unique promise, according to the team, because it is effective against all coronavirus variants as well as influenza viruses. Markovitz and the team hope to see the therapy take the more difficult step from animal model to testing in humans.

The team envisions a nasal spray or drops that can be used to prevent or treat coronavirus and influenza infections in seasonal and pandemic situations. They also hope to examine using H84T-BanLec against cancer—as cancer cells, like viruses, also have high mannose glycans on their surfaces.

 

Source: labblog.uofmhealth.org

 


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