Could milk ingredient help fight against Covid-19?

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

Quantec's Dr Rod Claycomb and Raewyn McPhillips.  Pic: Quantec
Quantec's Dr Rod Claycomb and Raewyn McPhillips. Pic: Quantec

Related tags coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic Milk lactoferrin Milk protein

New Zealand company Quantec said research it commissioned has found its patented New Zealand milk-derived ingredient IDP (Immune Defense Proteins) is effective at protecting cells against Covid-19.

The research, completed by an independent US laboratory, showed IDP has the ability to protect cells from Covid-19, but it may also reduce the severity of Covid-19 symptoms, a key concern particularly for sufferers of ‘long Covid.’

CEO of Quantec, Raewyn McPhillips, said the results suggest IDP could play an important role in the global struggle against the evolving virus.

“We already knew IDP offered effective barrier protection and support for the immune system, so with Covid-19 running rampant throughout the world we wanted to investigate how IDP may be able to contribute to addressing immune health concerns,”​ McPhillips said.

“With previous research under our belts showing IDP is effective at inhibiting and protecting cells against influenza A and herpes simplex, it’s exciting to see IDP could also protect against Covid-19, both in constraining the viral infection of cells and potentially reducing symptoms.”

Quantec founder and innovation director Dr Rod Claycomb said IDP is much more potent than its individual parts, such as pure lactoferrin or lactoperoxidase.

“IDP is a patented natural milk protein complex containing over 50 bioactive proteins, proven to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-microbial properties. The IDP protein fraction is extracted from fresh, pasteurized milk, in the same ratio created by nature to support the immune system,” ​Claycomb said.

The independent in vitro​ study compared IDP against pure lactoferrin, one of IDP’s key isolates, and the subject of current studies investigating its potential to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection or provide therapeutic relief from symptoms.

In the Covid-19 testing, IDP achieved an IC50 based on 3.5mg/ml compared to spray dried lactoferrin’s 4.5mg/ml and freeze dried lactoferrin’s 6.4mg/ml.

"This result supports other testing we have commissioned which demonstrates the efficacy of the natural IDP proteins to inhibit pathogens and support the body’s innate and adaptive immune systems,”​ Claycomb said.

While the respiratory tract is the primary portal of entry for SARS-CoV-2, gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea can also occur in Covid-19 patients.

“Ingesting IDP may help reduce gastrointestinal symptoms due to its anti-inflammatory effect on body surfaces such as the skin and lining of the GI tract, thus providing some therapeutic relief for those suffering from the virus,”​ Claycomb added.

McPhillips said following the results, the company is planning clinical trials with IDP and is actively working with commercial partners interested in creating consumer health products based on these results.

“As a milk-based functional ingredient, IDP provides a natural, safe and effective solution that is supported and backed by science.

“A principal part of our approach is working with strategic partners in key markets, who recognize this and the opportunities available to develop and commercialize products utilizing the potency of IDP.”

Quantec already produces supplement ranges that feature IDP as an active ingredient, such as Milkamune, suitable for adults and children, and the skincare range Epiology that uses IDP to prevent the spread of acne-causing bacteria.

“At the heart of Quantec, we’re focused on protecting and building people’s health and wellness, and with the global pandemic we’re excited that we might play a part in a significant health crisis,”​ McPhillips said.

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