A group of Canadian researchers are investigating ways to treat the novel coronavirus symptoms using acai berries.
Already a popular ‘superfood’ the acai (ah-sigh-EE) berries, native to central and South America, is known for its rich content of antioxidant. Now scientists are trying to find out a possible treatment using the berry extract to manage severe COVID-19 symptoms.
“It’s a long shot, but acai berries are cheap and easily accessible for everyone, as well as safe, so it was worth trying,” University of Toronto scientists Michael Farkouh told Agence France Presse news outlet.
Acai berries have earlier proven to act as an inflammation inhibitor and following the same pathway, the researchers from Toronto University are trying to find out a way to inhibit the severe inflation response by the body when infected with COVID-19.
The deep purple, 1-2 cm long berries are rich sources of the antioxidant anthocyanin, which is known to reduce the risk of heart disease, have anticarcinogenic properties, have anti-inflammatory effects, can inhibit some of the beginning of the formation of tumors among others, according to Medical News Today.
To find the efficacy of the berry extract to treat COVId-19 the researchers hired over 560 coronavirus infected patients from Brazil and Canada – both the places where the berry is grown.
Half of the population took the acai berry extracts, while the other half was given what is known as a placebo. The berry dose, as one of the researchers, said, will target the same pah way as the novel coronavirus and when activated the pathway kick starts the body’s response to wade out infections.
The idea is to find if the recipients of the berry extract show some sort of resistance to the viral symptoms, the most severe ones that cause hospitalization or death.
This is not the only natural, plant-based food in which researchers tried to pit against the virus that has so far infected 26 million peoples globally.
Researchers from Orissa-based National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER) and Chennai-based Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMS) have identified few plant-based compounds that can ‘inhabit’ the coronavirus from attacking human cells, the Times of India reports.
According to the researchers, they have found some 96 inhibitors from Indian plant extracts that can prevent the novel coronavirus from damaging the cells. The study was internationally published in the journal ‘Molecules.’