Pineapple as a new wepon against COVID19
DR. MOHAMAD FADL ABOUDAN
Specialist Internal Medicine
Bromelain is a group of enzymes found in the fruit and stem of the pineapple plant. Pineapple is native to the Am
ericas but is now grown throughout the world in tropical and subtropical regions.
Historically, natives of Central and South America used pineapple for a variety of ailments, such as digestive disorders.
Bromelain is promoted as a dietary supplement for reducing pain and swelling, especially of the nose and sinuses, gums, and other body parts after surgery or injury.
It is also promoted for osteoarthritis, cancer, digestive problems, and muscle soreness. Topical bromelain is promoted for burns.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is already well-known for its rapid human-to-human transmission, responsible for the relentless pandemic spread of dangerous COVID-19.
But every day, we learn a bit more about SARS-CoV-2 immunology. The initial interaction between Transmembrane Serine Protease 2 (TMPRSS2), primed spike glycoprotein (S-protein), and host cell receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE-2) is a pre-requisite for cell entry and COVID-19 pathogenesis.
At the moment, infected patients are treated with different antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antimalarial agents. Nevertheless, the response rate is relatively modest, and there is a need to confirm both the safety and efficacy profile of those drugs against COVID-19.
But repurposing existing drugs or develop new (either virus-based or host-based) antivirals against SARS-CoV-2 is still a way forward. The pertinent question is, could we maybe use bromelain – a dietary supplement isolated from pineapple stem used to treat patients with pain, inflammation, and thrombosis – for COVID-19 patients as well?
This hypothesis was tackled by researchers from the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) in Silver Spring in the United States, with rather exciting findings.
Bromelain as a broad-spectrum antiviral:
Previous studies have demonstrated that bromelain can be utilized to treat patients with inflammation and pain and that the compound is well absorbed and with prolonged biological activity. All of these advantages can be exploited when treating patients with COVID-19.
In conclusion, either bromelain or bromelain rich pineapple stem represents a viable option as an antiviral for treating not only COVID-19 but also potential future outbreaks of other coronaviruses.