At a time when COVID-19 has emerged as a potential threat to global public health, an interdisciplinary team of researchers has proposed a new line of treatment for the disease.
“Through our study, we hope to find a cure for the life-threatening complications associated with COVID-19,” said Punnoth Poonkuzhi Naseef, lead author of the publication and professor, department of pharmacy, Moulana College of Pharmacy, Perinthalmanna, Malappuram.
The research article was published in the latest edition of Elsevier, Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences.
âIron metabolism plays a key role in determining the severity of COVID-19. Ferritin is a compound that regulates iron metabolism in the body, âsaid Muhammed Elayadeth Meethal, senior author and assistant professor, Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University.
âHyperferritinemia, an increase in ferritin content in the blood, has been associated with life-threatening complications from COVID-19. We are proposing ferritin as a therapeutic target to fight COVID-19, âsaid Dr Muhammed.
In COVID-19, identifying the biological pathways leading to complications and death was a headache for healthcare professionals. There are several pathways that explain how COVID-19 has shown severe morbidity, he added.
The imbalance in iron metabolism has been linked to complications from immune-mediated COVID-19. The research team integrated protocols from several disciplines through interdisciplinary collaborations. The team has compiled nine publications to date.
Interestingly, the World Health Organization (WHO) has already presented two of their COVID-19 publications.
âThe next step in the research will be to identify therapeutic molecules that target ferritin-mediated pathways in COVID-19 disease severity,â said Dr. Naseef.
âResearchers now plan to expand studies in the field through broader collaborations. Our research plans include the optimization, validation and characterization of therapeutic molecules and their patenting, âsaid Dr. Muhammed.
In addition to researchers from Indian institutions, Dr Muhammed Saheer Kuruniyan from King Khalid University, Saudi Arabia, who made major contributions to the study, also participated in the research.