Australian researchers are testing a breakthrough treatment for Covid-19 derived from the humble pineapple.
Cancer specialist Professor David Morris, from St George Hospital in Sydney, and his team have repurposed a drug he had already developed to treat cancer patients.
The drug, BromAc – which is made with an enzyme found in pineapples -was found to dissolve the spike proteins that Covid-19 uses to infect human cells.
It has been repurposed into a nasal spray that researchers hope will stop the virus' spread from the nose and throat to the lungs. A trial on patients at the Royal Melbourne Hospital could start next month.
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As for the pineapple link, one of the ingredients in BromAc is an enzyme called Bromelain, which is derived from pineapple stems, and is already widely used in medicine – including to treat burns patients.
BromAc has already been trialled in 36 cancer patients where it extended their lives and has been found to be safe for human use, the Herald Sun reported.
"We've taken a drug in development for more than a decade and asked whether it can be adapted for treating people infected with Covid-19," Prof David Morris said in a statement.
"Our lab results show the new drug renders the Covid-19 spike ineffective, stopping it from infecting other cells.
"We hope the results will show the treatment can confine Covid to the nose and throat and prevent lung infection, and stop infected patients from passing on the live virus."
The drug won't be a vaccine, but it could be used as for prevention or treatment, the researchers said.