Whey Protein to Inhibit Coronavirus Infection

After months of battling with the pandemic, the effects of the virus in many ways are still unknown. But a recent study published shows that whey protein in human breast milk efficiently prevents infection with SARS-CoV-2 as well as post-entry viral replication.

According to the researchers, the study shows that the presence of whey protein inhibits viral attachment as well as the entry process. They also observed that after viral entry, treatment with human breast milk inhibited replication at high efficiency.

The current study used SARS-CoV-2 pseudoviruses for reasons of biosafety, in addition to the pangolin CoV. These are considered to be good alternative models to study various characteristics of the virus without the requirement for biosafety level 2 facilities. These observations that human breast milk has potent antiviral activity against these two different but closely related coronaviruses in two different cell lines indicate that it could prevent infection by and replication of SARS-CoV-2.

It is also understood that the same inhibitory capacity is present in whey protein from other species though at lower efficiency. Antiviral factors seem to be more abundant in human breast milk compared to that of other species. Lactoferrin and IgA are much lower in non-human milk.

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Ref link: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.08.17.254979. https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.08.17.254979v1