TAU Team Enlists Pumpkins, Peas and Cashews Against Covid

Prof. Ehud Gazit of Tel Aviv University’s Blavatnik Center for Drug Discovery. (Noah Shahar/Prof. Ehud Gazit)

By Hamodia Staff

YERUSHALAYIM – A research team at Tel Aviv University is planning to embark on clinical trials of a covid vaccine that utilizes dietary supplements obtained from fruits and vegetables, such as pumpkins, peas and cashews.

Currently the battle against the virus relies mainly on RNA-based vaccines, alongside several anti-viral medications. But the Covid virus changes very rapidly, and frequent updates are required to treatments and vaccines that are based on familiarizing the immune system with the virus. The same is true for flu viruses, another widespread cause of illness and death.

Prof. Ehud Gazit, who heads TAU’s Blavatnik Center for Drug Discovery, said: “To address the rapid changes of the virus, we decided to develop active vaccines made of safe and easily obtainable dietary supplements that would reduce the viral load in the body and cut down contagion. We have known for years that food supplements containing zinc can enhance immunity to severe, viral, and chronic infections and their potentially grave consequences.”

The researchers found that the consumption of zinc alone achieves a relatively low cellular content. To enhance the effect, they combined the zinc with flavonoids – polyphenolic compounds found in many fruits and vegetables. They also added copper – in order to prevent an ionic imbalance and improve the treatment’s effectiveness.

Prof. Segal notes that the “advanced lab tests, including PCR, have shown that the new vaccines we developed did in fact reduce the viral load. We found a 50-95% decrease in the genomic replication of various groups of RNA viruses, including Covid-19, the flu virus, and others. These results are very promising, possibly enabling the development of an orally administered biological shelf treatment. Such a product will be safe, natural, and effective against several types of viruses, including new mutations and variants – clearly an important step forward.”

To date, all the experiments were conducted in vitro in the lab, but the researchers hope to launch a series of clinical trials in humans soon.

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