Traditional Japanese Food may contain building blocks for COVID-19 Treatments

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By Daniel Webster, dWeb.News

Newswise — Natto, a fermented soy dish that is often eaten for breakfast in Japan, was first discovered to be a staple diet in those most likely to die from stroke and cardiac disease. Researchers have discovered that the extract from sticky, strong-smelling natto may block the virus that causes COVID-19. The team published their findings in Biochemical and Biophysical research Communications on July 13. “Natto has been believed to be good for health for Japanese people for centuries,” said Tetsuya Mizutani (director of the Center for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Prevention Research, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology). Recent scientific studies have supported this belief. This study examined the antiviral effects of natto on SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), and bovine herpesvirus 1(BHV-1), which causes respiratory diseases in cattle. “Natto is made from fermenting soybeans with Bacillus succinctis, a bacteria that can be found in plants and soil. Two extracts of natto were prepared by the researchers from the food: one with heat and one that did not. The extracts were applied to lab-cultured cells of cattle and humans. One set was infected by SARS-CoV-2, while another set was infected by BHV-1. Both viruses were unable to infect cells when the natto extract was applied without heat. The heat-treated natto extrait did not appear to affect either virus. “We found what appears like a protease (or proteases) in the natto extraction directly digests receptor binding domain of the spike protein in SARS–CoV-2,” Mizutani stated. He also noted that the protease may have been metabolizing other proteins. SARS-CoV-2 can infect healthy cells only if the spike protein is inactive. Researchers found a similar effect with BHV-1. Researchers also found a similar effect on BHV-1. He stressed that there is no evidence of a decreased viral infection by simply eating natto. Once the components have been identified and verified, the researchers will move on to clinical trials in animal models. Mizutani stated that although there are vaccines against COVID-19, it is not known how effective they might be against all variants. It will take time to vacinate everyone. There are still reports of breakthrough cases. We need to find treatments for those who have COVID-19. This research may be a significant hint for pharmaceutical design. “###Mizutani also teaches in the Graduate School of Agriculture Cooperative Division of Veterinary Science at TUAT. Mami Oba and Junko Yasuoka and Yoko Sato are also contributors to CEPiR TUAT; Akatsuki Sashito and Tamaki Okabayashi at the Department of Veterinary Science and Center for Animal Disease Control of Faculty of Agriculture, University of Miyazaki. Koji Nishifuji is at the Laboratory of Veterinary Internal Medicine Faculty of Agriculture, TUAT. Yutaka Nibu is at The University Research Administration Center (TUAT). Rongduo is also affiliated to the Graduate School of Agriculture Cooperative Division of Veterinary Science (TUAT); and Wake is also affiliated to the National Institute of Technology, KOSEN. This research was supported by:
Biochemical and Biophysical Communication, Volume 570, Pages 21-25. 2021 Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT):TUAT is a distinguished university in Japan dedicated to science and technology. TUAT focuses its efforts on engineering and agriculture that are the foundation of industry and promotes education and research that incorporates them. TUAT has a rich history that spans over 140 years, since its founding in 1874. It continues to take on new challenges and promote new fields. TUAT is committed to social responsibility by transferring science and technology information towards a sustainable society that allows both humans and nature to thrive in a symbiotic relationship. For more information, please visit Center for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Prevention Research at TUAT (CEPiR-TUAT):On April 1, 2021, the “Center for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Prevention Research (CEPiR)” was established through the reorganization of the previous institution, “Research and Education Center for Prevention of Global Infectious Diseases of Animals.” In Japan, the 2010 outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Miyazaki Prefecture led to the establishment centers for research and education about infectious diseases of animals at veterinary schools across Japan. One of these centers was ours. Our research has been on all kinds of organisms including mammals, birds and reptiles as well as insects, plants, and mucus. We are particularly interested in infectious diseases of domestic animals. We have published more than 40 “novel viruses” papers during this time. This represents 0.1% of all the world’s novel virus discovery papers. Universities and other institutions around Japan and the world are using our method to detect infectious diseases in animals, including dogs, cats, chickens, pigs, chickens, and pigs. As we approach a decade-long milestone in 2019, we decided it was “time to shed our skin.” What are the current requirements for research on infectious diseases? This was also when Japan’s second coronavirus wave hit. Research that looks into the future is what is needed. While it is important to study the current epidemics, we must also look into the future. Originally, TUAT was committed to establishing a new discipline called Epidemiology and Prevention and making it available to the rest of the world. “Epidemiology & Prevention” is an academic discipline that predicts the future appearance of infectious diseases so that we can take preventative measures against those diseases that have already been established. In April 2021, the “Center for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Prevention Research” (CEPiR), will relaunch. Here is where we begin our new challenge. Our goal is to be recognized as a global center for the dissemination of information on unknown viruses over the next ten years. We will continue to predict and disseminate information about countermeasures, as well as the next infectious disease caused by the coronavirus.

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This article was authored by Daniel Webster using Artificial Intelligence. To learn more visit
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