Research Project: Does Changing Intake of Specific Nutrients Reduce Levels of SARS-CoV-2 in the Body?
basic biologic mechanisms
Over 5 million people have died during the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting an urgent need for rigorous and quick studies that develop therapeutics against this and other respiratory viruses. We will study whether changing dietary intake of specific nutrients, such as methionine, can reduce SARS-CoV-2 levels and disease severity. Methionine is an amino acid found in meat, fish and dairy products that plays an important role in many functions within the body. Our project exploits the fact that all viruses need the infected host cell to make materials for new viruses. These materials are made from nutrients consumed in the diet. We will ensure that this approach does not negatively affect the normal response of the body to infection. This approach has shown promise as an anti-cancer therapeutic, and it has the potential to have a rapid impact in treating current and future respiratory virus infections.
During the first period of this award, we showed that reducing levels of the amino acid methionine can lower SARS-CoV-2 levels in human lung cells. We are now moving these studies into animals so that we can test whether lowering dietary intake of methionine can reduce SARS-CoV-2 levels and death without negatively affect the normal response of the body to infection.