Investigating The Therapeutic Potential Of Whey Derived Bioactive Peptides As Antiviral Agents In The Prevention Of Viral Infections

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Murphy, Kelly
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Research Subject Categories::MEDICINE::Microbiology, immunology, infectious diseases::Infectious diseases
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The impact of infectious diseases have always been a concern globally. Now more than ever do we understand the devastating impacts that they can have on every aspect of our lives as we begin to emerge from the catastrophic impacts, at both a mortality and economical level, from the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. As we gain greater insights into the threat that emerging viruses have to human health, their mechanism of adaptation, combined with external factors that facilitate their proliferation around the globe, do we appreciate and understand the need for a wide range of strategies and therapies in order to counteract the spread of infection and their associated symptoms that can lead to increased mortality rates globally.

While there are a number of strategies such as vaccines and antiviral medications already well established in order to reduce the devastating impacts of infectious diseases, there is a need for alternative, and more affordable approaches in order to better counteract their spread and devastating impacts of harmful viral infections; especially for those who find themselves to be immunocompromised or at risk of suffering from the side-effects and complications associated with traditional treatments. Thus, there is a need for a wide range of alternative therapies and more affordable approaches in order to better control and counteract the spread of harmful viral infections. With global volumes of bovine milk in the region of 714 billion kg per annum, the subsequent whey volumes generated from the cheese manufacturing industry offers an abundant source of whey derived bioactive peptides that warrant further investigation to assess their antiviral potential. Although whey was historically regarded as a problematic waste stream generated from the cheese manufacturing process, it has, over the past number of decades been valorised into a key nutritional ingredient within the food and beverage industry thanks to advances in both processing and analytical technologies within the dairy industry. The ability to identify, purify and concentrate the native protein fragments βlactoglobulin, α-lactalbumin, Bovine Serum Albumin, Immunoglobulins and Lactoferrin has allowed researchers to conduct vast amounts of both in-vitro and in-vivo studies in recent years, which have displayed that these bioactive peptides have the potential to impart a wide variety of health benefits, which are increasingly gaining ground in clinical practice.

In conclusion, the antiviral potential of the whey derived bioactive peptides: βlactoglobulin, α-lactalbumin, and Lactoferrin in particular, is one such benefit that this study’s findings have displayed a growing body of evidence is supporting, thus showcasing them as a viable, widely available and more cost-effective option to work in conjunction with or as an alternative to traditional vaccines and anti-viral medication.

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