ICAR-CIFT research article published in Current Science entitled ‘Can sulphated polysaccharides from seaweed provide prophylactic and/or therapeutic solution to Covid-19 pandemic?’ (authored by Asish K Jha, Suseela Mathew and Ravishankar C.N.) highlighting the potential of seaweed as aneffective immunotherapyagainst corona virus,has been recognised by theWorld Health Organisation (WHO), and placed in their website section of ‘COVID-19 Global Literature on Coronavirus Disease’ for sharing the information and knowledge to help the world in fighting against COVID-19.
The endorsement of the publication by the Geneva based World Health Organisation is an evidence for the scientists working in the field of marine resources and drug discovery for the claims they put forward on some of the naturally available seaweed compounds, which can act as a wonder drug to fight SARS-CoV-2.
The marine environment is a natural habitat for a wide variety of living organisms and contain more than 80 percentage of plant and animal species in the world. Seaweed is considered as one of the easily accessible and most abundant live species present inthe marine ecosystem. Derivatives of seaweeds are known to have many nutraceutical properties. Several polysaccharides isolated from red and green seaweeds have been evaluated for its antiviral characteristics and found to have ability to inhibit the initial attachment of virus to the host cells which in turn effectively block the viral entry to human body. Carrageenan, a sulphated polysaccharide from red seaweed has already been tried as a therapeutic agent for respiratory illness like common cold, influenza virus H1N1. In vitro study shows that iota-carrageenan is active against novel pandemic H1N1/2009 influenza. The study also shows that use of sulphated polysaccharide increase the secretions of interferon and interleukins suggesting that it is a strong immune-stimulator. Considering the available scientific knowledge, it is proposed that sulphated polysaccharide from seaweed can be a potent molecule to fight against COVID-19 pandemic, hence a candidate molecule to be studied against SARS-CoV-2.