Indore scientists back algae drug to combat COVID-19

Atul Gautam | Updated on: Saturday, November 28, 2020, 11:07 PM IST

Representative Pic | Photo: Pexels
Representative Pic | Photo: Pexels

A study by three scientists from Indore revealed that algae can produce an effective drug for Covid-19, which is wreaking havoc across the globe.

Metabolites commonly found in algae, identified as moss, have been found to be effective as anti-viral. The trio scientists stated that cheap and effective medicine can be made from algae against Covid-19. On the basis of the study, it has been claimed that due to mutation of the virus, the impact of the vaccine may be limited or very less, but the effect of the anti-viral drug from algae will remain intact.

Two faculty members of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and one of Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya (DAVV) jointly carried out the research which has been published in international research journal Phytotherapy on November 18. The research team includes Dr Kiran Bala and Prof Hemachandra Jha from IIT Indore and Dr Hemendra Singh Parmar from DAVV.

Kiran Bala has been conducting research on algae and their metabolites for a long time. While Jha is a virus specialist and Parmar is a specialist in disease biology and drug discovery. Jha and Parmar are also involved in research related to Covid-19 virus at Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and other parts of the country.

According to the research scientists, due to frequent mutations of the coronavirus, many strains have been found so far. “In such a situation, the impact of the vaccine may be limited. Algae can make broad spectrum anti-viral drugs. Broad spectrum means that these drugs have a similar effect on different strains of viruses,” they said. According to the study, broad spectrum anti-viral is obtained from metabolites found in algae.

According to Jha and Parmar, metabolic means of algae mean certain elements found in it. Some of these carbohydrates and proteins have been identified in research. Carbohydrates include carrageenan, galactans, fucoidan, ulavan, exopolysaccharides, navicula, nostoflan, alginate, calcium spirulan, etc. These carbohydrates of algae have so far been found to be effective in the use of molecular mechanisms on viruses such as AIDS, influenza, coronavirus, dengue adenovirus, sitomagalo virus, human leukemia. Similarly, some proteins found in algae which are known to be effective on many viruses and measles, herpes, AIDS, hepatitis, influenza and Ebola.

Algae metabolites have been found to be effective in preventing the virus from attaching to the cell, preventing replication of the virus, and preventing the virus from spreading from one cell to another.

In such a situation, they could be effective on Covid-19. Algae found in any part of the world can be grown easily in any lab condition. Therefore, it is possible to get out of cheap and effective medicine of Covid-19 from algae. Research is now being pursued in the direction of identification of the most effective elements.

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Published on: Saturday, November 28, 2020, 11:07 PM IST