How sharks can help in the fight against COVID-19

In the future, the discovery of American specialists may be used in medicines against coronavirus. However, shark proteins have not yet been tested on real patients. This is not the first time that animal antibodies are used in medicine, says Doctor of Biological Sciences, virologist Andrey Letarov:

“Human antibodies, for example, class G, have two types of polypeptide chains: heavy and light. This is inconvenient for a number of reasons. When we make artificially engineered antibodies, they are easier to select when everything is on the same chain. In camels, it is of the same type, respectively, such antibodies were used to change them for the desired tasks. It was rather used to create monoclonal antibodies, for diagnostic purposes.”

According to some studies, sharks can help in the treatment of another disease — cancer.

Allegedly, substances contained in the liver and cartilage of fish are potentially able to block the development of tumors. However, there was no scientific confirmation of this.

But shark liver and fat have been used by doctors for many years, said Dmitry Astakhov, a leading researcher at the Institute of Oceanology of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS):

“The famous omega-3 acids and vitamin D were extracted from shark fat, from the liver. But a more interesting direction is squalene, a kind of compound that was discovered in the fat of these fish in 1906. It is unique in that it is able, being water-repellent, to create stable complexes with different compounds in blood plasma.

Squalene is now actively used in the development of drugs against cancer, tumors, for healing after radio radiation of cancer patients. Sharks carry a huge number of the most interesting acquisitions from the point of view of biochemistry.



Leave a Reply