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Canada researchers investigating acai berry to fight COVID-19
In this file photo taken on June 11, 2020 a bird eats an acai berry from a basket on the boat of merchant Evandro Santos, 38, resident of the riverside community of Sao Jose, in Melgaco, southwest of Marajo Island, state of Para, Brazil, amid the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic. Canadian researchers said August 31, 2020 they are investigating a popular superfood -- the acai berry -- as a treatment to prevent Covid-19's most severe symptoms. Past studies have shown the berry's extract may act as an inflammation inhibitor, which doctors believe could help prohibit the severe inflammatory response caused by the coronavirus.
AFP/Tarso SARRAF

Canada researchers investigating acai berry to fight COVID-19

(Agence France-Presse) - September 1, 2020 - 7:52am

OTTAWA, Canada — Canadian researchers said Monday they are investigating a popular superfood — the acai berry — as a treatment to prevent Covid-19's most severe symptoms.

Past studies have shown the berry's extract may act as an inflammation inhibitor, which doctors believe could help prohibit the severe inflammatory response caused by the coronavirus.

University of Toronto scientists Michael Farkouh and Ana Andreazza, who have studied the berry's effect on inflammation responses for nearly five years, are researching how it can be used to fight Covid-19.

"It's a long shot," Farkouh told AFP. "But acai berries are cheap and easily accessible for everyone, as well as safe, so it was worth trying."

The pair enrolled some 580 patients who have tested positive for coronavirus in Canada and Brazil, where the berry is grown.

Half took doses of the extract while the rest received placebos.

The hope is that early intervention with acai could help prevent some of the disease's worst symptoms, which can lead to hospitalization and death, Farkouh said.

He explained that the extract specifically targets the same NLRP3 pathway as the coronavirus, which when activated triggers the body's response to fight off infection and stress.

Results of the 30-day study are expected to be released at the end of 2020.

ACAI BERRY CANADA NOVEL CORONAVIRUS
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: February 26, 2021 - 8:45am

Follow this page for updates on a mysterious pneumonia outbreak that has struck dozens of people in China.

February 26, 2021 - 8:45am

Brazil's death toll from Covid-19 surpasses a quarter-million Thursday, a year after the first case was confirmed in the country, which is struggling with vaccine shortages and a devastating second wave.

The new coronavirus has now killed 251,498 people in Brazil, according to health ministry figures — the second-highest toll worldwide, after the United States, where the number passed half a million Monday.

This has been the deadliest week yet of the pandemic in Brazil, with a daily average of 1,149 deaths over the past seven days, according to the ministry's figures. —  AFP

February 24, 2021 - 1:05pm

Fashionistas will have to log on to soak up the glamour at Milan Fashion Week, which remains online a year after the coronavirus first swept into northern Italy. 

No sharply dressed crowds will attend the extravaganza's opening on Wednesday: it's virtual catwalk shows only, with the likes of Armani and Prada presenting new women's collections for autumn and winter 2021-22. — AFP

February 23, 2021 - 11:31am

Movie theaters in New York City will partially reopen next month, Governor Andrew Cuomo announces, the latest easing of coronavirus restrictions in the Big Apple.

Cuomo says cinemas will be able to operate at 25% capacity, or up to 50 people per screen, from March 5 -- almost exactly a year since they shut. — AFP

February 21, 2021 - 5:39pm

The head of the World Health Organization on Sunday appeals to Tanzania to take "robust action" to combat COVID-19 in the country, where the president has long played down the virus.

President John Magufuli has claimed coronavirus has been has fended off by prayer in Tanzania, and refused to take measures to curb its spread. 

But a recent spate of deaths attributed to pneumonia has struck both members of the public and government officials.

And Magufuli on Friday appeared to admit the coronavirus was circulating in his country after months of denial.

WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said a number of Tanzanians traveling to neighboring countries and beyond have tested positive for the coronavirus.

"This underscores the need for Tanzania to take robust action both to safeguard their own people and protect populations in these countries and beyond," he said in a statement.

Tedros said he had urged Tanzania in late January to take measures against the pandemic and to prepare for vaccinations.

"Since then I have spoken with several authorities in Tanzania but WHO is yet to receive any information regarding what measures Tanzania is taking to respond to the pandemic. — AFP

February 21, 2021 - 4:09pm

The Department of Health reports 1,888 new cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on Sunday, February 21, bringing the number of total cases to 561,169.

Of the total caseload, 26,238 or 4.7% are still classified as active cases, or patients who have neither passed away nor recovered and are still in hospitals and quarantine facilities.

Read full story here

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