World Health Organisation (WHO) has recognised, Seaweed, as an effective immunotherapy against corona virus and the content is publicly available in their website section of ‘COVID-19 Global Literature on Coronavirus Disease’ for helping the world in fighting against COVID-19.
The endorsement of the publication by the Geneva based WHO is an evidence for the scientists working in the field of marine resources and drug discovery for the claims they put forward on some of the naturally available seaweed compounds,which can act as a wonder drug to fight SARS-CoV-2.
ICAR-CIFT research article was published in Current Scienceentitled ‘Can sulphated polysaccharides from seaweed provide prophylactic and/or therapeutic solution to Covid-19 pandemic?’It is written by Asish K Jha, Suseela Mathew and Ravishankar C.N.
The marine environment is a natural habitat for a wide variety of living organisms. It contains more than 80 percentage of plant and animal species in the world and supports our bio-diversity.
The species of marine plants are commonly known as Seaweed, which grows in the ocean, river and other water bodies. It is considered as one of the easily accessible and most abundant living species present in the marine ecosystem. Derivatives of seaweeds are known to have many nutraceutical properties.
Several polysaccharides isolated from red and green seaweeds have been evaluated for its antiviral characteristics and found to have ability to inhibit the initial attachment of virus to the host cells which in turn effectively block the viral entry to human body. Carrageenan, a sulphated polysaccharide from red seaweed has already been tried as a therapeutic agent for respiratory illness like common cold, influenza virus H1N1.
In vitro study shows that iota-carrageenan is active against novel pandemic H1N1/2009 influenza. The study also shows that the use of sulphated polysaccharide increases the secretions of interferon and interleukins suggesting that it is a strong immune-stimulator. Considering the available scientific knowledge, it is proposed that sulphated polysaccharides from seaweed can be a potent molecule to fight against COVID-19 pandemic, hence a candidate molecule to be studied against SARS-CoV-2.