Hepatitis C Virus and Lactoferrin

Lactoferrin (hLF) is a multifunctional globular glycoprotein and is widely represented in the human body in various secretory fluids, such as breast milk, saliva, tears and nasal secretions.

Lactoferrin is one of the components of the immune system of the body. It has antimicrobial, antifungal and antiviral activity and is part of the innate defense, mainly at mucoses[1]. In particular, lactoferrin provides antibacterial activity to human infants. To protect the vulnerable infants against infections, human breast milk has the highest concentration of lactoferrin.
But lactoferin is not only a potent ingredient of humans, but also of other mammals, like cows. Scientists found that bovine lactoferrin (bLF) prevented Hepatitis C Virus infection in human liver cells[2]. They demonstrated that the activity of the bovine lactoferrin was due to the interaction of bovine lactoferrin and Hepatitis C Virus. It inhibited viral entry to the cells.

Further studies showed that lactoferrin even displayed activity against Influenza A Virus (H5N1)[3].

This might be a new avenue for a possible treatment for an infection with Hepatitis C Virus and maybe even all other virusses too,

[1] Sánchez et al: Biological role of lactoferrin in Archives of Diseases in Childhood – 1992
[2] Ikeda et al: Characterization of antiviral activity of lactoferrin against hepatitis C virus infection in human cultured cells in Virus Research – 2000
[3] Ng et al: Antiviral activities of whey proteins in Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology – 2015

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