As COVID-19 spreads, so do the public’s fears and concerns about the respiratory virus. Researchers around the world (and especially in China) are scrambling to discover a treatment to thwart the spread of coronavirus.
Meanwhile, Michel Chrétien and Majambu Mbikay from the Clinical Research Institute of Montreal believe they may have discovered the answer in a plant compound known as quercetin. Quercetin is normally used to treat inflammation and is readily available at an affordable rate. In this article, we will discuss Chrétien and Mbikay’s discovery and why it might be the answer to treating COVID-19.
Everything You Need to Know About Quercetin:
Quercetin is an antiviral used to help establish healthy histamine levels and sustain a balanced response from the immune system. Quercetin is derived from plants and provides powerful immunomodulating benefits.
Years ago, renowned Canadian scientist Michel Chrétien and Congolese scientist Majambu Mbikay began studying quercetin’s potential as a way to combat an epidemic of SARS. The two theorized that the powerful plant compound could be used as an antiviral drug to treat a number of diseases.
In 2014, during the Ebola epidemic, they tested their theory on mice infected with Ebola at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg. Just minutes later, the quercetin treatment proved effective for the mice. When coronavirus erupted in Wuhan, Chrétien and Mbikay knew quercetin could be used to treat the infection, so they began working on a plan. So, Chrétien contacted China’s minister of health and offered to help.
Last week, plans for clinical trials for quercetin in China began. Canadian and Chinese scientists will work together in trials with nearly 1,000 test patients. Now, all that is needed to begin Chrétien’s trials is funding. Chrétien estimates that he will need $5 million to complete the trials.
Who Is Michel Chrétien?
- Canadian researcher Michel Chrétien is one of the world’s most-cited scientists.
- He has written and contributed to more than 600 publications.
- Chrétien is a member of the Order of Canada, which recognizes outstanding achievement as well as dedication and service to the nation.
- He specializes in biochemistry and endocrinology.
The Research Is Promising
Chrétien and his team have already proven that quercetin can be used effectively to treat both Ebola and Zika virus. According to Mbikay, the researcher working with Chrétien, quercetin has the ability to attack several viruses at one time.
The quercetin clinical data will produce results as soon as 60 days after the start of the trials. Then, we will know for sure if quercetin can be used to effectively treat COVID-19.
Along with the trials in China, Chrétien and his team are applying for funding for a trial of quercetin in Canada, as well.
Mbikay believes that it’s important to find an affordable treatment plan for the novel coronavirus. He cites concerns about the infection spreading to developing countries without the infrastructure to effectively battle the disease.
Quercetin isn’t the only possible treatment for COVID-19. In fact, 80 clinical trials for other potential treatments are underway right now in China. However, quercetin has the biggest potential to treat the deadly coronavirus strain. Quercetin could potentially save thousands of lives.
Is Quercetin an Affordable Solution?
Some coronavirus patients are being treated with an antiviral cocktail. The price tag for some of these drugs can be as much as $1,000 for one injection, according to Mbikay. Alternatively, quercetin may cost as little as $2 per day to administer.
Quercetin (a plant-derived compound that can be found naturally) is much cheaper than other antivirals that could be less effective against COVID-19. As an added benefit, quercetin is an oral drug, which makes it easier to administer than intravenous antiviral drugs.
Can We Get Quercetin in the United States?
Quercetin is FDA-approved as safe for human consumption, which means researchers can skip straight to human trials. If quercetin is proven to work, it would be readily available in the US.
Quercetin has been found to be a powerful anti-inflammatory medication, as well as an antiviral with lots of potential. More trials are needed to determine if this compound—which has proven effective against Ebola and Zika—will be the drug to defeat the coronavirus. Researchers are working in China and Canada to quickly complete trials. If it’s found to be effective, quercetin will be an affordable solution for the masses that may help end COVID-19 and change the way we treat viral illnesses in the future.