A pair of over-the-counter compounds has been found in preliminary tests to inhibit the virus that causes COVID-19, University of Florida Health researchers have found.
The combination includes diphenhydramine [a.k.a. Benadryl], an antihistamine used for allergy symptoms. When paired with lactoferrin, a protein found in cow and human milk, the compounds were found to hinder the SARS-CoV-2 virus during tests in monkey cells and human lung cells.
The findings by David A. Ostrov, Ph.D., an immunologist and associate professor in the UF College of Medicine’s department of pathology, immunology and laboratory medicine and his colleagues, are published in the journal Pathogens.
“We found out why certain drugs are active against the virus that causes COVID-19. Then, we found an antiviral combination that can be effective, economical, and has a long history of safety,” Ostrov said.
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Like diphenhydramine, lactoferrin is available without a prescription. Ostrov thought about pairing it with diphenhydramine and ran with the idea. In lab tests on human and monkey cells, the combination was particularly potent: Individually, the two compounds each inhibited SARS-CoV-2 virus replication by about 30%. Together, they reduced virus replication by 99%.
The findings, Ostrov said, are a first step in developing a formulation that could be used to accelerate COVID-19 recovery. It also raises the prospect of further study through an academic-corporate partnership for human clinical trials focused on COVID-19 prevention.
There’s more at the link.
Benadryl and its generic equivalents are, of course, well-known. I was intrigued to read that lactoferrin (freely available in milk at every supermarket) is also known for its antiviral activity. If they work together so effectively, then this may be a combination everybody can take for pennies a day to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 in the first place. I’d call that a winner! I hope the research is vigorously pursued, despite the fact that the medical establishment is bound to be opposed to it. After all, there’s no money to be made out of something so low-cost.