Lactoferrin as an immunomodulatory and iron-binding agent: Possible clinical implication in COVID-19

Document Type : Review Article


1 Zoology Department, Faculty of Science, Menoufia University, Shibin El-Kom, Egypt

2 Zoology Department, Faculty of Science, Tanta University, Tanta, Egypt


Since December 2019, COVID-19 is a pandemic disease which associates with severe acute respiratory syndrome due to infection with the new coronavirus SARS-Cov-2. The SARS-Cov-2 infection has been recorded in more than 6.4 million patients and associated with over 380,000 deaths. Several scenarios have been suggested to explain the pathogenesis behind the rapid death of patients who SARS and treatment options have been presented to minimize the complication and safe the life of patients. The latest scenario behind the pathogenicity caused by SARS-Cov-2 infection is the capability of the virus to bind with an iron molecule in hemoglobin, resulting in anemia and thrombosis. This scenario might explain the efficacy of the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine in the protection of the patients since it competes with the virus to bind with the iron molecule. Due to the side effects of hydroxychloroquine, it is of paramount significance to explore new drugs that can safely block the binding of SARS-Cov-2 to iron molecules. Lactoferrin is an iron-binding glycoprotein related to the transferrin family, which has several besides its anti-viral and immunomodulatory effects. Our hypothesis is that lactoferrin can be used as an alternative to hydroxychlroquine in the treatment of SARS-Cov-2.


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