John Solomon writes at Just the News Does military’s biodefense lab hold a key to future coronavirus treatment? Excerpts in italics with my bolds.
Little noticed research on oleandrin extract from flowering plant gaining steam.
Though often omitted from public conversations about pandemic solutions, the U.S. military has a huge stake in fighting deadly infectious diseases and quietly has been researching novel treatments for years at its secretive biodefense lab at Fort Detrick.
The reasons are mission obvious. With soldiers deployed in exotic locations around the world where novel viruses like Ebola, Zika or bird and swine flus can strike with lighting speed and alarming fatality, the Pentagon wants to make sure it has treatments to keep its forces from being disabled
It’s from that body of research that an intriguing potential remedy, an organic extract, has emerged. And of all sources, it comes from the common but toxic flowering plant oleander.
Dr. John Dye, chief of viral immunology at the USAMRIID lab at Fort Detrick, confirmed to Just the News that his team began testing the extract known as oleandrin a few years ago and found it was effective in fighting the Ebola and Marburg viruses. The Army lab is now ramping up a rapid plan to test oleandrin against COVID-19.
“We found that at non-toxic concentrations, oleandrin was efficacious at slowing and halting viral growth in tissue culture assays” for the Ebola and Marburg viruses, Dye said in emailed answers to questions.
Because those viruses are enveloped, just like COVID-19, the lab is pressing ahead to do similar tests on the theory that the extract may have similar effects on the coronavirus at the center of today’s pandemic, he said.
Oleandrin “fully inhibited” the Marburg and Ebola viruses in petri dishes, suggesting the natural compound has “broad spectrum efficacy” and may also have “antiviral efficacy against other enveloped viruses,” the researchers’ presentation declared in 2017.
It was that data that gave Dye’s lab an interest in testing oleandrin against COVID-19 now. If the in-vitro tests show it works, the next step would be human testing in clinical trials.
Because oleandrin already has wide user in cancer trials and comes from a plentiful flower product, it has advantages in getting to market more quickly should Fort Detrick’s tests and then subsequent clinical trials find it is effective and safe, he added.