A virus that gives dogs kennel cough but is harmless in humans could be the key to a vaccine against the deadly coronavirus that has the world in lockdown.
A team from the University of Iowa have tested their new specially engineered virus on mice infected with MERS, a virus related to COVID-19.
They found that the mice that the mice given the genetically engineered virus and then infected with lethal doses of MERS survived the usually deadly infection.
Paul McCray and his team say their approach for treating MERS – which forces the system to trigger immune responses – could also work against COVID-19
Medical workers are wearing personal protective equipment to treat patients with COVID-19 as researchers around the world search for a vaccine. A team from the University of Iowa have created a new specially engineered virus that may work to slow the disease
The Iowa researchers added an extra gene to an RNA virus called parainfluenza virus 5 (PIV5) so that infected cells produce proteins involved in the MERS infection.
The multidisciplinary team have been studying MERS – Middle East Respiratory Syndrome – since an outbreak in 2012 as it has a fatality rate of over 30 per cent.
‘We know people have been exposed to PIV5, but it seems to be an innocuous virus in humans,’ said McCray, a paediatric pulmonologist and coronavirus expert.
The MERS virus cannot replicate in mice, so to test the vaccine McCray developed a genetically modified mouse model that mimics human infections.
The mice had been engineered to express DPP4, the protein used by the MERS virus as an entry point for human cells.
Four weeks after the mice received the vaccine created from the PIV5 virus they were exposed to a usually lethal strain of MERS.
The same strain of MERS was also given to groups of mice that had recieved a different PIV5 based vaccine but without the modified gene.
All of the mice given the modified virus survived the MERS infection and all of those given the other PIV5 vaccine died from the infection.
The study demonstrates that an intranasal, PIV5-based vaccine is effective against MERS in mice, said virologist Biao He from the University of Georgia.
The co-author said this should be investigated for its potential against other dangerous coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2.
‘We’re quite interested in using viruses as gene delivery vehicles,’ said McCray, who has also investigated similar strategies as a way to treat cystic fibrosis.
Finding an effective vaccine against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is a race against time, according to the Iowa and Georgia researchers
Now, like colleagues around the world, McCray and Dr He have both focused their research efforts on SARS-CoV-2, taking a similar tack to working with mouse models of infection and testing vaccines.
Finding an effective vaccine against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is a race against time, McCray said.
‘One hundred percent of the population is not going to be exposed to the virus the first time around, which means there will be more people to infect when it comes again,’ he said.
‘We don’t know yet if people get lasting immunity from the SARS-CoV-2 infection, so it’s important to think about ways to protect the population.’
Researchers, pharmaceutical companies, universities and other groups are searching for a vaccine or effective treatment against COVID-19.
The research has been published in mBio, a journal of the American Society of Microbiology,
VITAMINS AND MINERALS TO BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
According to Chinese data, one in five patients with COVID-19 may be ill enough to need medical intervention. For the rest with symptoms, the best medication could be ibuprofen and paracetamol, as this controls fever and pain.
In order to help rebuild the immune system post-virus, experts recommend antioxidants which can be obtained from a variety of foods, such as berries, garlic and onion.
Vitamin Injections London founder Bianca Estelle has recommended cocktails of vitamins and minerals, intravenous (IV) or intramuscular (IM) injection, as an alternative to oral supplements which can be harmful to the stomach in high doses.
The UK-based clinic administers high doses (dependent on factors including age and health condition. The antiviral concoctions are also great for preventing free radical damage and reducing inflammation caused by viruses.
According to Chinese data, one in five patients with COVID-19 may be ill enough to need medical intervention. File image
B Complex vitamins also help boost the immune system after a viral infection.
‘Specifically B6,’ Estelle says. ‘It gives cells the energy they require to communicate effectively and function.’ B6 supports red blood cell production and reduces inflammation. It cannot be made by the body naturally.
Coronavirus victims have reported symptoms of fatigue, body aches, fever, coughing and sneezing.
Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant that protects the body against the effects of harmful agents (internal and external) and can negatively affect metabolic processes, leading to tiredness and fatigue.
Chinese studies have been treating some infected people with high doses of vitamin C due to its anti-viral properties.
Since it has a very low toxicity level, there is no risk of damaging vital organs, as long as the correct dose is administered for an individual as recommended by a health expert.
According to a WHO study on respiratory tract infections, ‘Vitamin D deficiency may affect the immune system as vitamin D plays an immunomodulation role, enhancing innate immunity by up-regulating the expression and secretion of antimicrobial peptides, which boosts mucosal defenses’. Magnesium is also found in vegetables, milk and fish (pictured)
According to a World Health Organization study on respiratory tract infections, ‘Vitamin D deficiency may affect the immune system as vitamin D plays an immunomodulation role, enhancing innate immunity by up-regulating the expression and secretion of antimicrobial peptides, which boosts mucosal defenses’.
Airborne illnesses such as coronavirus can get into the system via mucous membranes; eyes, nose and mouth.
Estelle hails the antibacterial and antimicrobial properties of D3, otherwise known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’. Darker skin tones have more difficulty obtaining the benefits of vitamin D but slow-release adhesive skin patches provide 12 hours of continuous D3 supplementation, delivered directly into the bloodstream.
‘The Vitamin D Shot is a safe treatment,’ VitaminInjections.co.uk states. ‘Rarely, however, Vitamin D injections can lead to a number of side effects – the most common of which are stomach discomfort and nausea.’
Darker skin tones have more difficulty obtaining the benefits of vitamin D but slow-release adhesive skin patches provide 12 hours of continuous D3 supplementation
Magnesium helps reduce inflammation in tissues and regulates the immune system response. Notably it helps keep organs, bones and nerves healthy.
Found in vegetables, milk, fish, pulses, and grains, about 15 percent is absorbed via oral supplement and it’s absorbed at a much higher rate via IV.
Zinc helps flush out damaged cells and fight infection.
According to VitaminInjections.co.uk, the trace mineral, stimulates the activities of nearly one hundred enzymes and is necessary for the healthy functioning of the body. Individuals lacking in this nutrient may be more susceptible to illness, meaning that an adequate amount of Zinc should ideally be present in the body’s cells.
Zinc is recommended for supplementing pre-existing deficiencies in order to enhance the body’s natural ability to defend itself against foreign invaders.
Source: dailymail UK