The worldwide pharmaceutical industry is on a hunt for a vaccine for COVID-19 but tests for better effectiveness against the virus are also in the process. In a recent study, it was seen that extract from edible seaweed significantly performed better than remdesivir, the current standard antiviral used as a vaccine. Heparin which is a frequently used blood thinner and a variant of heparin which was stripped of its anticoagulant properties performed better when compared to remdesivir in blocking off the SARS- CoV -2 virus.
SARS-CoV-2, the pandemic causing virus has a spike protein on the surface which latches onto the ACE-2 receptor (a molecule on the surface of human cells). Once secured, the virus creates replica viruses by inserting its genetic material into the cell. But, with this, the virus could easily be persuaded to lock onto a decoy molecule that offers a similar fit. The neutralized virus would be trapped and degrade naturally. Depending upon the previous research, this technique has successfully trapped a few viruses including dengue, Zika, etc.
The test was conducted in three variants of heparin and two fucoidans extracted from seaweed and were performed on mammal cells. The tests conducted found no cellular toxicity in any of the compounds. Since a lot of information on the SARS-CoV-2 is unknown and the scientists are still understanding it, finding better ways to block the virus from entering or treating it at an early stage is the best possible option.