Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – Breast milk (ASI) is said to prevent and treat Covid-19. This was revealed by Chinese scientists and published on the health site biorxiv.org, on Friday (25/9/2020).
The research was led by Professor Tong Yigang from Beijing University of Chemical Technology. The study collected breast milk since 2017, well before the onset of the pandemic, and was tested on cell types ranging from animal kidney cells to lung and intestinal cells in young children.
The results were the same, and most of the live virus strains were killed by breast milk. It was stated that “breast milk is able to block even the replication of the virus after entering,” the study wrote, as quoted by the South China Morning Post, Monday (28/09/2020).
The results of this study contradict the previous opinion that breastfeeding can increase the risk of Covid-19 transmission. According to Chinese media reports, newborns in Wuhan have been separated from mothers who are positive for Covid-19 and have been fed with formula milk since February 2020.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States also reminded that babies who breastfeed on mothers who are suspected of being infected or positive for corona, can be considered as suspect corona.
However, this research supports the World Health Organization study [WHO] who asked mothers to continue breastfeeding even though they were positive for Covid-19. Where in the study 46 breastfeeding mothers were infected with Covid-19 but their children were not infected from breastfeeding.
In this study, Tong Yigang and colleagues mixed several healthy cells into human breast milk, then washed the breast milk and exposed the cells to the virus.
They observed almost no binding or entry of the virus to these cells, and the treatment also stopped viral replication in already infected cells. They concluded that the infection could be cleared by breast milk, which is known to have a suppressing effect on bacteria and viruses such as HIV.
Tong Yigang and colleagues suspected the coronavirus was sensitive to some of the well-known antiviral proteins in milk, such as lactoferrin, but found none of the proteins worked as expected. Instead, they say the most preferred ingredient for virus inhibition is whey, which contains several different proteins.
Breast milk is able to clear the virus in a wider range of cell types, but the researchers said it was unclear what caused the difference.
Tong Yigang and colleagues say they have not found any signs of harm caused by breast milk, which “promotes cell proliferation” while killing the virus.
“It is important to identify the key factors for further development of antiviral drugs,” they concluded.