Potential Use Of Peptides In The Treatment Of COVID

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic had medical professionals scrambling for answers. They needed to know what the virus was, what it was capable of, and how they could develop viable treatment as quickly as possible to keep the global population safe. Throughout the pandemic, many different claims have circulated surrounding possible treatments for COVID, many of which have become hot topics of debate.

With researchers now having had more time to study and investigate the virus, more research is shedding light on possible treatment options for people with an active COVID infection, as well as the lingering symptoms known as long COVID. Some studies have even looked at peptides and what they could do to help. But what are peptides, exactly, and is there any clinical evidence to support the potential use of peptides in the treatment of COVID?

What are peptides?

Peptides are naturally occurring short chain amino acids. They are linked by peptide bonds, and are considered short chain because they have less amino acids than proteins. Typically, peptides have anywhere from two to 50 amino acids. Amino acids are often referred to as the building blocks of protein because they actually form the nutrient.

person receiving covid vaccine
Image by the CDC on Unsplash: Is there any factual basis to peptide COVID treatment?

What do peptides do in the body?

Naturally occurring peptides have their own roles in the body and are found in every single cell or tissue. They can act as messengers to carry information throughout the body from blood to tissues.

There are many different types of synthetic peptides as well. Each type will play a different role in the body, and thus is important for its own special reason. For example, collagen peptides, perhaps one of the most well-known peptides, are associated with making collagen, which is protein found in the skin. These are often used in the beauty and health industries to help people with skin and joint health.

There are also peptides known as AMPs that have antimicrobial properties and play a role in the health of the skin. AMPs can also fight bacteria in the body and promote the fast healing of wounds. Other peptides such as creatine can help build muscle mass.

Is there a drug treatment for COVID-19?

Although many different drugs are being tested to treat COVID-19, FDA approval of these drugs is scarce. One specific drug to which the FDA has given the go-ahead is remdesivir, which is a type of antiviral medication that is administered intravenously. This medication is typically reserved for people who are hospitalized due to COVID-19 and is not used for those with less severe forms of the illness.

Many other drugs have been investigated for their effectiveness against COVID-19, with studies finding little are no evidence that they are beneficial. That being said, these studies have given medical researchers the chance to perform follow-up studies that may be beneficial in finding a treatment that works for both mild and severe COVID-19 infections.

Are there peptide drugs for COVID?

Research over the last couple of years surrounding peptides and COVID-19 has been lengthy, and some studies have found a strong connection between the viability of peptides and treating COVID-19. That being said, the type of peptide is important – not just any peptide will do.

One particular study looked at specific peptides that had antiviral properties, such as mucroporin-M1. The research found that this peptide did have some viability as an anti-viral against a COVID infection by way of disrupting the viral envelope.

person putting on mask during pandemic
Image by Usman Yousaf on Unsplash: Is there a connection between antiviral peptides and COVID-19 treatment?

Antiviral peptides and COVID-19

Other peptides have also been studied to see if they were effective against COVID. It was later found that when certain peptides are used in the battle against COVID-19, they can act as virus protein inhibitors. This type of effect is driven by the peptides’ ability to stop a virus replicating in other cells, thus causing the infection to eventually die down.

Another remarkable effect of certain peptides that have antiviral properties is their ability to modulate the immune system, making it more effective against the virus. The effect on the immune system can also stop it from working too hard – when this happens, it can lead to an overabundance of pro-inflammatory cytokines; a cytokine storm can then occur, which is a dangerous phenomenon in which the body begins attacking itself.

Cell death can also occur in people with viral infections such as COVID-19, and the study mentioned above found that using certain peptides may prevent that cell death and reduce the chances of organ failure.

While the preliminary research surrounding peptides is promising, more needs to be done to ensure that there is a common conclusion across the board that peptides can be used as a viable treatment option against COVID. Currently, research is continuing to consider peptides at the forefront of COVID-19 treatment. Peptide treatment may end up providing some light at the end of a very long COVID tunnel that helps the world return to normalcy.

Featured image by the CDC on Unsplash

What’s The Story Behind Vitamin D And COVID-19?

The COVID-19 pandemic has been circulating the globe for over a year now. The death toll has reached over 2 million, and over 50 million have contracted the virus. With cases continuing to rise, the general public has been looking for ways to help prevent the spread and transmission of COVID.

A dangerous amount of false information has been circulating about the prevention of COVID-19 and the ways we can keep ourselves safe. Some outlandish claims that have been made with no basis in fact have included the use of colloidal silver, plant-based elixirs, and ultraviolet lamps. This misinformation has led to people believing that they could avoid getting the virus if they bought certain products.

One new health claim making the rounds is the connection between vitamin D and COVID-19. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and steroid hormone that can be absorbed into the body through sunlight and some foods. It is needed for bone health, the metabolization of both phosphorous and calcium, and mood regulation. But can it help prevent COVID-19?

Is vitamin D important for the immune system?

There are many health benefits of vitamin D because it plays a role in so many different bodily processes. One such system that relies heavily on having enough vitamin D is the immune system. Research has shown that the nutrient is essential when it comes to fighting off infection and boosting the function of the immune system. This is because it can act as an immune system regulator and initiator.

Studies have also found a direct connection between Vitamin D and the function of immune cells. The findings state that since immune cells have an expressed vitamin D receptor, it is required for them to be able to signal properly. It also plays a vital role in the modulation of both the innate and acquired immune systems.

Vital RX - masks
Image by Ismael Paramo on Unsplash: Safety measures such as wearing a mask are important to prevent COVID-19, but vitamin D can help when it comes to the severity of the infection.

Does vitamin D protect against COVID-19?

Information regarding vitamin D and COVID-19 is promising, but there is no evidence or information demonstrating that the nutrient can protect against COVID-19. There is currently no cure for the virus and the immune system is the main defender when it comes to recovering from a COVID-19 infection. The only true way to protect oneself against contracting the virus is by following the appropriate safety measures.

These measures will be different depending on your local government and health official regulations, but the mainstays include wearing a mask in areas where you will be in close contact with people; social distancing by way of keeping at least six feet between yourself and another person; and avoiding contact with those who have an active case or symptoms of the infection. You should also be practicing good handwashing and sanitization techniques and avoiding touching your face.

What’s the connection between vitamin D and COVID-19?

Since the immune system relies heavily on vitamin D to ensure that it is functioning properly – and since it’s the only line of defense against the COVID-19 virus – it’s clear that there is a connection between Vitamin D and coronavirus. Without adequate levels of vitamin D, the immune system will not function at its best, and if it doesn’t work properly, the body may have a more difficult time fighting off the virus.

Research has found that having at least 30 ng/mL of vitamin D in the blood led to those hospitalized to have less adverse outcomes and a better fighting chance against the infection. The particular study looked at 235 patients with COVID-19 and found that patients over the age of 40 were more likely to experience milder symptoms if they had adequate levels of the nutrient compared to those who were low or deficient. With a lessened chance of hypoxia and death, vitamin D is looking promising as a way to keep the body healthy in the wake of COVID-19.

Does vitamin D deficiency increase the severity of COVID-19?

Being deficient in vitamin D can lead to several chronic health conditions including diabetes, glucose intolerance, and hypertension. A vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to the increased risk of developing certain viral diseases as well as the increased susceptibility of getting frequent infections.

Other possible health conditions that can arise due to a vitamin D deficiency include:

  • Depression
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Osteoporosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Development of some cancers including prostate, colon, and breast cancer
Vital RX - supplement
Image by Michele Blackwell on Unsplash: Vitamin D deficiency is dangerous for your health, so if you can’t get enough through diet and sunshine alone, supplementation is necessary.

The connection between COVID and vitamin D deficiency has been clear in recent studies, which show that not having enough of the nutrient can lead to a heightened risk of developing a more severe case of the virus. One particular study looked at 216 patients with COVID-19 who were hospitalized because of the condition and found that out of the 216, over 80% were deficient in the sunshine vitamin.

In the people with lower levels of vitamin D, high inflammatory markers were also found, and longer hospital stays were also discovered to be a connection between low vitamin D levels and COVID-19 patients.

There is no cure for COVID-19. There are anti-viral medications that can control it, but for the most part when it comes to viruses, the immune system has to fight the battle on its own. Vitamin D is not a cure, nor is it a treatment option for those with severe cases of COVID-19; however, recent promising research shows it could be a helpful assistant in both recovery and in the outcome of the infection.

Featured image by Ainsley Myles on Unsplash