In a new study from the University of Arizona published last month in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, scientists found that a combination of bacterial extracts used in Europe to treat respiratory infections may offer a new way to prevent or reduce infection by SARS-CoV-2.
The researchers showed that a specific combination of bacterial extracts known as OM-85 inhibited SARS-CoV-2 infection by reducing the virus’s ability to attach to lung cells.
When SARS-CoV-2 enters the lungs, it binds to receptors including the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 receptor, known as ACE2, on the outer membranes of lung cells. In the study, the team examined whether OM-85 treatment affected the ACE2 receptor and enzyme involved in COVID-19.
The scientists found that pre-treatment of cells with OM-85 prevented infection by SARS-CoV-2.
The mechanism by which OM-85 prevents viral infection is unlike that of vaccines or antibody treatments, which focus on a viral protein. By targeting the receptor, OM-85 may shut the very door that allows SARS-CoV-2 to infect cells.