Is camel milk lactoferrin effective against COVID-19?

Author : Tahereh Mohammadabadi and Tanveer Hussain

Lactoferrin is one of the glycoproteins from the transferrin family which binds Fe3+ ion. Lactoferrin is found in mammalian milk but the camel milk has greater quantity of lactoferrinin compared with other livestock species. Lactoferrin strengthens the immune system by protecting the host cells against bacterial and viral infections and inflammations. Activation, proliferation and regulation of the phagocytic action of immune cells are also facilitated by the lactoferrin. The antiviral actions of lactoferrin are against both DNA and RNA viruses and it inhibits viral adhesion and entry into cells and binds viral particles. Generally, camel milk lactoferrin may directly interact with viral molecules or with the viral receptor (heparan sulfate) on the cellular surfaces to prevent the virus attachment and infection. The boosting host immune system by nutritional supplements such as lactoferrin may work against SARS-CoV-2 entry and infection into the host cells. Because of the homology in genetic sequence and receptor binding domain between SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2, lactoferrin may inhibit the SARS-CoV-2 invasion in the same way to SARS-CoV, via binding to heparan sulfate and prevent the viral infections and epidemic. Keeping in view this fact that lactoferrin can modulate immune responses to viral infections; it may reduce severe infections. Milk lactoferrin (in particular camel milk with the highest amount of lactoferrin) as powder or tablets may be a novel promising candidate and preventative treatment for more severe cases of COVID-19. However, it needs more studies on the unique medicinal effects of camel milk lactoferrin to verify its efficacy on COVID-19 prevention and treatment.

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