In vitro experiments have shown that this substance can attack the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Experts say more work is needed.
The results of Prakash Radhakrishnan’s study are promising: Bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapples, inhibits SARS-CoV-2 infection.
However, this researcher from the University of Nebraska doesn’t resort to sensationalism, but –with intellectual honesty– explains the implications of his work published in 2021, in Clinical and Translational Medicine, a scientific journal by the prestigious publisher Wiley.
“We’re in the process of conducting clinical trials and developing a bromelain-based drug for Covid-19 and other strains of the coronavirus family,” he explains in an interview for Tec Review.
This means that bromelain could be used (but not yet) as an antiviral drug against SARS-CoV-2 and future outbreaks of other coronaviruses around the world.
If you are caring for yourself or a loved one at home, how can you keep everyone safe from #COVID19?
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) April 30, 2021
Severe inflammation due to Covid-19 is precisely what hospital treatment aims to prevent in patients infected with SARS-CoV-2, as Radhakrishnan explains in his publication:
“Currently, Covid-19 patients are treated with different agents, including favilavir, remdesivir, chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir, darunavir, and tocilizumab. However, the safety and efficacy of those drugs against Covid‐19 still need further confirmation by randomized clinical trials.”
Hence, there is an emergent need to develop new drugs against SARS‐CoV‐2, according to this researcher, who maintains that bromelain, a substance that’s already used as a dietary supplement in the treatment of patients with issues of thrombosis, will at some point also be able to be used effectively to combat the pandemic.
Ramón Antonio González García Conde, president of the Mexican Society of Virology, says in an interview with Tec Review that medical science points precisely in the direction indicated by Radhakrishnan, regarding the way in which the current pandemic is expected to be combated.
“In the coming years, we’ll undoubtedly manage to have antivirals against Covid-19. I’m optimistic that this will happen, but it’ll take a while to achieve it,” says this specialist.
González García Conde says that there are currently several research publications presenting the usefulness of around 300 substances with the potential for counteracting Covid-19. However, the scientific community hasn’t yet been able to cry victory for these efforts.
“Hopefully, these studies can continue to make progress, and we can finally establish if they can be useful or not, but we still don’t have any compound that can be used specifically against coronavirus that works properly.”
The suggestion that a medicine, a substance, or a fruit (such as pineapple) could be enough to successfully combat Covid-19 is seductive. It’s a siren song that people should ignore, at the risk of putting their health, and even their lives, at risk. However, according to González, we shouldn’t rule out that a certain dietary supplement might work in tackling the pandemic.
“There could be food supplements that help people maintain good physical health, so they’re able to respond better to the infection. People with preexisting comorbidities, such as obesity, diabetes, or cardiovascular problems, usually present induced inflammation that can be aggravated by the coronavirus infection.”
In other words, when people are already suffering from inflammation of the respiratory system, for example, their immune system response is uncontrolled, which aggravates symptoms.
“In a healthy person, the immune response isn’t so exacerbated, and doesn’t lead to a state of inflammation that puts their health at risk,” he says.
Experts say that, in general, an adequate diet is needed in order to counteract the effects of the pandemic.
Diet is one component we don’t yet fully understand in balancing health, which not only involves nutrients and organs, but also rest cycles and ways of managing emotional stress, among many other tangible and intangible factors.
At the center of all this complexity is the immune system, which determines how the body defends itself against viruses such as SARS-CoV-2. The rule is simple: the stronger the body’s defense against infectious organisms and invading viruses, the more likely that Covid-19 will not be lethal.
Precisely to explain how to increase the possibility of prevention and survival, nutrition professionals assure us that a healthy diet is important.