sea squirt
sea squirt

Research into COVID-19 has turned up some unusual solutions and possibilities, and now Spanish scientists have found a chemical in the humble sea squirt that is a COVID anti-viral.

Aplidin (also known as plitidepsin), which is based on a chemical extracted from the Ibizan sea squirt Aplidium albicans, is already used to fight the blood cancer multiple myeloma in Australia, and is currently going through the approvals process in Europe for the same use.

However, researchers have found in laboratory tests that the drug, which is manufactured by Spanish company PharmaMar, reduced the spread by 99 percent in mice, and in a piece in the journal Science believed that the compound is perhaps the most-powerful anti-viral yet discovered in the battle against COVID-19.

Aplidin works by preventing virus particles interacting with a human protein called eEF1A, which they use to replicate. It works in a similar way to the US drug Remdesivir, but is apparently 27.5 times more potent.

Photo credit: PharmaMar

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