Benefits of beta-glucan seen in COVID-19 patients: study

An Indian Council for Medical Research-approved clinical study on the efficacy of a component in black yeast in reducing the adverse effects of SARS Cov-2 virus and aiding faster recovery of COVID-19 patients has shown promising results.

The pilot study was jointly conducted by Indo-Japanese medical experts, headed by Madurai-based pediatric neurologist K. Raghavan.

Speaking to The Hindu, he said a black yeast named Aureobasidium pullulans was rich in beta-glucan, known, among other things, for its anti-inflammatory properties. It was a registered food supplement in Japan and traditionally the Japanese stored the yeast at home for its medicinal value.

For the study, COVID-19 patients in the age group 18 to 65 years were split into three groups. All were given standard COVID-19 treatment as per World Health Organisation-ICMR protocols, while two groups additionally received the beta-glucan food supplement in different measures.

“Those who received the supplement in high doses reported reduced breathlessness and fatigue and recovered faster,” Dr. Raghavan said.

The novel coronavirus caused inflammation and triggerred a cytokine storm and as the body was fighting the virus, the over-production of cytokines damaged tissues and organs – in this case the lungs. “The yeast helped to lower the release of cytokine, drastically reducing the adverse effects of the virus in all the affected patients,” he said.

The study has been acknowledged by Clinical Trials Registry–India and the findings were released by Elsevier, besides being published on WHO’s COVID-19 website.

According to Dr. Raghavan, Dr. MGR Medical University would be collaborating with them to give beta-glucan supplement to select COVID-19 patients as part of treatment to further test the results. The teams initially collaborated six months ago to study the impact of beta-glucan in children with autism and observed that it helped to improve their immunity.

Dr. Raghavan, who runs Kenmax Integrated Special School here, said parents said their children did not suffer the regular seasonal bouts of cold and cough. That was when the team thought of treating COVID-19 patients with beta-glucan. The clinical study was funded by Prefectural Government of Yamanashi and the Government of Japan.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2021 3:57:21 PM |

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