A preliminary study by Chinese researchers found that a whey protein of human breast milk inhibits infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes covid-19 disease, in cultured cells, so the group of experts led by Tong Yigang, of the Peking University Health Sciences Center, underlines the need to identify the key factors for greater antiviral drug development.
“In the present study, we demonstrated for the first time that human breast milk whey protein significantly inhibited SARS-CoV-2 infection in a cell model study. The breast milk can not only block the adhesion and entry of viruses, but also inhibit post-entry viral replication ”, indicates the preliminary report, published on the site Biorxiv.org.
It is highlighted that the study is not conclusive, in addition to the fact that due to biosecurity considerations, the The researchers did not use the live SARS CoV-2 virus, but a pseudovirus and breast milk samples collected before the pandemic. So through an in vitro study, the anti-coronavirus property of human breast milk was confirmed with two different, but closely related coronaviruses and also with two different cell lines, therefore, “it is reasonable to deduce that human breast milk has the property of preventing the infection and replication of SARS-CoV-2 ”.
They explained that to determine the possible inhibition, the milk cells were infected with the pseudovirus and it was at 24 hours that they saw “all the skim breast milk from different donors effectively inhibited the SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus with a inhibition efficiency greater than 98 percent“, And the effectiveness of inhibition of breast milk was dose dependent.
Furthermore, the team found that cow and goat serum protein inhibited the infectivity of the SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus, although the inhibition efficiency was relatively lower compared to that of human serum protein.
“These results indicated that human serum protein has a higher concentration of antiviral factors than those of other species,” the document highlights.
But “the main antimicrobial components of breast milk, such as lactoferrin and IgA antibody, showed limited anti-coronavirus activity, indicating that other factors in breast milk may play the important anti-coronavirus role,” so it is further study is necessary.
Milk has a rich source of biologically active components of valuable proteins, minerals and vitamins. Milk has antibacterial and antiviral properties, some of the components of milk milk show antiviral activity against HIV and hepatitis C virus.
For their part, the World Health Organization (WHO) and Unicef encourage women to continue breastfeeding during the covid-19 pandemic even if they have the suspicion or confirmation of being infected by the coronavirus.
They have highlighted that while researchers continue to test breast milk from women with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, current data indicate that it is unlikely that it can be transmitted through breastfeeding or the administration of expressed breast milk. woman with suspicion or confirmation of covid-19.
“The many benefits of breastfeeding far outweigh the potential disease risks associated with the coronavirus. It is not safer to feed infants with formula, ”he adds.
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