Pleiotropic effect of Lactoferrin in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 infection: in vivo, in silico and in vitro preliminary evidences
Elena Campione, Caterina Lanna, Terenzio Cosio, Luigi Rosa, Maria Pia Conte, Federico Iacovelli, Alice Romeo, Mattia Falconi, Claudia Del Vecchio, Elisa Franchin, Maria Stella Lia, Marilena Minieri, Carlo Chiaramonte, Marco Ciotti, Marzia Nuccetelli, Alessandro Terrinoni, Ilaria Iannuzzi, Luca Coppeda, Andrea Magrini, Nicola Moricca, Stefano Sabatini, Felice Rosapepe, Pier Luigi Bartoletti, Sergio Bernardini, Massimo Andreoni, Piera Valenti, Luca Bianchi
The current treatments against SARS-CoV-2 have proved so far inadequate. A potent antiviral drug is yet to be discovered. Lactoferrin, a multifunctional glycoprotein, secreted by exocrine glands and neutrophils, possesses an antiviral activity extendable to SARS-Cov-2. We performed a randomized, prospective, interventional study assessing the role of oral and intra-nasal lactoferrin to treat mild-to-moderate and asymptomatic COVID-19 patients to prevent disease evolution. Lactoferrin induced an early viral clearance and a fast clinical symptoms recovery in addition to a statistically significant reduction of D-Dimer, Interleukin-6 and ferritin blood levels. The antiviral activity of lactoferrin related to its binding to SARS-CoV-2 and cells and protein-protein docking methods, provided the direct recognition between lactoferrin and spike S, thus hindering the spike S attachment to the human ACE2 receptor and consequently virus entering into the cells. Lactoferrin can be used as a safe and efficacious natural agent to prevent and treat COVID-19 infection.