Researchers at the Faculty of Biotechnology, University of Surabaya in Indonesia, have made a groundbreaking discovery in the fight against COVID-19. They have explored the potential of multistrain probiotics as a treatment for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This research could revolutionize the search for innovative COVID-19 therapies and provide a safe and orally administered medication option.
The current treatment options for COVID-19 are limited, with medications like remdesivir and molnupiravir having their own drawbacks and potential side effects. The World Health Organization has emphasized the urgent need for a universally accepted and safe oral medication for COVID-19. Intravenous administration of existing treatments further complicates the situation, necessitating the exploration of alternative options.
The research team focused on harnessing the biosurfactant potential of multistrain probiotics, specifically targeting Lactobacillus spp. and Rhodopseudomonas palustris. These probiotics have beneficial properties, and the researchers hypothesized that their biosurfactant activity could be used to disrupt the lipid membrane of the virus, rendering it inactive and preventing infection. Biosurfactants have detergent-like properties and can safely dissolve lipids, making them suitable for use in vivo.
To evaluate the biosurfactant potential of the multistrain probiotics extract, the researchers employed three distinct evaluation methods: oil spreading, drop collapse, and emulsification. These techniques provided detailed insights into the interaction between the probiotics extract and lipid membranes, shedding light on its effective biosurfactant activity.
Probiotics like Lactobacillus spp. and R. palustris have long been known for their ability to regulate immune responses. In this study, the researchers aimed to enhance the production of metabolites, including biosurfactants, through the symbiotic relationship between these microorganisms. The biosurfactant activity of these compounds has the potential to interact with the lipid membranes of pathogens, presenting a novel avenue for low cytotoxicity antiviral therapy.
To ensure the safety of the probiotics extract, the researchers conducted thorough cytotoxicity evaluations on Vero E6 cells. The evaluations revealed that concentrations of 20% and 16.6% v/v were non-toxic, opening the door for further exploration of the extract’s safety profile and potential therapeutic applications.
In antiviral experiments, the researchers used the SARS-CoV-2 delta variant as a model, reflecting the ongoing evolution of the virus. The probiotics extract demonstrated remarkable antiviral activity in both prevention and treatment platforms. Within 48 hours, the extract inhibited virus growth by 99.9% in the prevention platform and 99.6% in the treatment platform. These findings highlight the potential of the multistrain probiotics extract as a potent antiviral agent against SARS-CoV-2.
While this research is a significant breakthrough, the researchers emphasize the need for further studies. Extensive clinical trials and long-term investigations are necessary to assess the extract’s safety, efficacy, and potential for resistance development in human COVID-19 treatment.
In conclusion, the research conducted at the University of Surabaya offers hope in the battle against COVID-19. The biosurfactant potential and antiviral activity of multistrain probiotics present a promising avenue for the development of safe and effective antiviral agents. As the world continues to face the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, this research brings hope for a new class of oral medications that could revolutionize the treatment landscape and contribute to the global effort to overcome the virus.