With each passing day, the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in parts of the U.S., including in Northeast Florida.
But now pre-clinical research into a specific molecule has led to a breakthrough in how people may later fight COVID-19, especially if this new finding is able to be used in conjunction with a COVID-19 vaccine.
A doctor at a research lab in California recently discovered that the molecule NAD may be the key to prevent the coronavirus from replicating itself once people come in contact with it.
Dr. Charles Brenner is currently researching ways to create what’s called innate immunity from COVID-19 -- meaning physical, chemical and cellular defenses that kick in the moment a person is exposed to the virus. He recently discovered that when the cells from lab mice were exposed to COVID-19, the cells were depleted of a metabolizing molecule called NAD, which helps convert consumed food into energy. NAD is also found in humans.
“What we are discovering is that by boosting NAD, you can potentially increase the antiviral defense and boost the innate immunity against coronaviruses,” Brenner said.
Brenner said a potential NAD booster that would fight COVID-19 could someday be prescription drugs or vitamins, but cautioned that ideal remedy because research has only been focused on cells.
“But it’s progressing in animal and human clinical trial. It potentially has the ability to prevent infection, as well as potentially lower the symptomology of people that are, unfortunately, infected with the COVID-19 virus,” Brenner said.
Although people are already taking over-the-counter NAD boosters called Niagen, which has been touted as a supplement to support metabolism and increase energy, Brenner said, “There are not clinical data showing Niagen will allow people to resist infection. But that’s the type of research that is underway right now in order to test the hypothesis.”
Brenner said if a COVID-19 vaccine is finally approved and his research leads to the approval of NAD boosters being used to combat COVID-19, the two together would potentially be a super-power against the virus.