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: November 23, 2020 - 8:58pm

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

November 23, 2020 - 8:58pm

The novel coronavirus has killed at least 1,388,590 people since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 1100 GMT on Monday.

At least 58,647,610 cases of coronavirus have been registered. Of these, at least 37,298,300 are now considered recovered.

The tallies, using data collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organization (WHO), probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections. — AFP

November 23, 2020 - 3:25pm

Canada's biggest city entered lockdown on Monday in the latest bid to curb coronavirus infections, with case numbers surging across North America even as US officials said vaccinations could be available within weeks.

Encouraging results from several vaccine trials have raised hopes of a decisive shift in the battle against a disease that has claimed around 1.4 million lives worldwide in the last year.

But seesawing restrictions and lockdowns in countries that successfully contained earlier outbreaks — shattering lives and economies in the process — have highlighted the ongoing risk of contagion.

Toronto banned private indoor gatherings and capped the size of weddings and funerals for four weeks from midnight, with officials warning that hospitals risked being overwhelmed without quick action.

"I've been clear on this: the situation is extremely serious and further action is required," Ontario premier Doug Ford had told journalists ahead of the lockdown. — AFP

November 22, 2020 - 11:14am

The United States grants emergency approval for a synthetic antibody therapy against COVID-19 that was notably used to treat President Donald Trump.

"Authorizing these monoclonal antibody therapies may help outpatients avoid hospitalization and alleviate the burden on our health care system," says Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. — AFP

November 21, 2020 - 4:02pm

The Department of Health reports 1,791 additional cases of COVID-19. This brings the total number of confirmed cases in the Philippines to 416,852.

Of those, 33,224 are registered as active cases. There are 328 new recoveries and 55 more deaths.

November 21, 2020 - 11:02am

The Washington Post reports that the coronavirus tests imported from South Korea by the governor of the US state of Maryland were flawed and ended up not being used.

The newspaper says Maryland Governor Larry Hogan spent $9.46 million in April to import 500,000 coronavirus tests from South Korea.

But the tests turned out to be flawed and the state "quietly" paid the same South Korean company an additional $2.5 million for 500,000 replacement tests, the Post says. — AFP

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