This Substance Can Break Down Ebola’s Protective Shell … So Our Immune System Can Kill It
One off the most important substances our bodies produce to fight disease is a type of protein called a “mannose-binding lectin”.
As the Journal of Infectious Diseases notes:
Circulating mannose-binding lectin (MBL) is a first-line host defense against a wide range of viral and other pathogens.
MBL preferentially recognizes glycosylated viruses including influenza virus, human immunodeficiency virus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronovirus (SARS-CoV), Ebola virus, and Marburg virus. It also recognizes many glycosylated gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria.
Due to genetics, different people produce different amounts of MBL:
As a result of common genetic variants, MBL serum levels in humans range from 0 to 10,000 ng/mL. Thirty percent of the human population has levels <500 ng/mL, which are associated with increased susceptibility to infections in children and immunocompromised individuals.
MBLs are not only produced by our own bodies, but also by certain plants and algae.
Certain types of blue-green and red algae contain MBLs:
- The blue-green algae Scytonema varium produces an MBL called scytovirin, which exhibits a powerful ability to fight Ebola. And see this
- The blue-green algae Nostoc ellipsosporum produces an MBL called Cyanovirin-N which inhibits Ebola. And see this, this, and this
- The red algae Griffithsia produces an MBL called Griffithsin which possesses useful antiviral properties against Ebola
Numerous flowering plants contain MBLs. For example, a Scottish study showed that the common plants with the highest level of MBLs were lilies and Amaryllidaceae. Indeed, many higher plants contain MBLs which preferentially seek specific sugars.
Some foods contain MBLs, as well:
- Rice contains an MBL
- Lentils contain an MBL called LCH. Several labs sell LCH on the web
- Jerusalem Artichoke contains an MBL called Heltuba
- Jack beans contain an MBL called Concanavalin A
So should we stuff our faces with algae, flowers, Jerusalem Artichoke, jack beans, bananas and rice?
Not so fast …
So MBLs aren’t a harmless silver bullet.
But with some further testing and tweaking, MBLs may end up being one of the most promising and quickest routes to treating Ebola.