Targeting long COVID, humanpeople launches immunity boosting supplement packs containing longevity-implicated compounds, resveratrol, quercetin and more.
DISCLOSURE: Longevity.Technology (a brand of First Longevity Limited) has been contracted by the company featured in this article to support its current funding round. Qualifying investors can find out more via the Longevity.Technology investment portal.
With case numbers of COVID-19 still high, and the impact of so-called “long COVID” yet to be fully realised, British personalised health start-up humanpeople has developed a pack of specialist nutraceuticals to help support the immune system and reduce fatigue, aches and brain fog. Several of the compounds included in the packs are already popular longevity supplements.
Longevity.Technology: With its AI-powered approach to helping people boost their healthspan, humanpeople is now also targeting the impact of the pandemic with its new “COVID recovery immune support” packs. By looking at the core science behind pharmaceutical interventions, the company has put together a combination of nutraceuticals that target similar pathways. We caught up with humanpeople’s co-founder and Chief Medical Officer Dr Geoff Mullan to find out more.
Mullan believes there is a close correlation between longevity science and the battle against the long term effects of the coronavirus.
“The link between COVID and longevity is that one of the big drivers of aging is inflammation and COVID causes massive inflammation,” he says. “If you let inflammation go unchecked, if your body’s not able to deal with it, then it becomes a big problem. Think of it like a superhero movie – when they’re shooting up the city, yes they get rid of the aliens, but look at all the other damage they do! That’s what we’re trying to stop – we need to try help the body balance out that enormous reaction and minimise that collateral damage.”
Block the virus and prevent replication
With an estimated 1.3 million people in the UK suffering from long COVID, humanpeople say that more than 70 clinical trials are currently seeking to measure the effectiveness of nutraceuticals for the treatment of COVID and long COVID. The company’s longevity supplement packs contain quercetin, resveratrol, N-acetyl cysteine, Vitamin A, alpha lipoic acid and zinc, and aim to:
- Block the virus by reducing the attachment to ACE2 receptors on lung cells.
- Reduce viral replication by impeding the coronavirus Mpro protease, the chemical required for viral replication.
- Support normal function of the immune system by keeping inflammation in check.
“We have selected the vitamins, minerals, and botanicals, which help block viral replication and boost antioxidants to reduce the inflammation, which can cause so much damage,” says Mullan. “The aim is to shorten length and severity of infection and to reduce the body’s inflammatory overreaction, which is commonly known as the ‘cytokine storm’. We have selected only those nutraceuticals backed by the strongest clinical evidence, which will help support patients’ immune systems, so that they can get back on their feet and feel human again.”
Pharmaceutical to nutraceutical
Having himself recently contracted COVID-19, Mullan was keen for his company to explore how nutraceuticals could be used to potentially improve recovery from the virus. Current pharmaceutical interventions used in hospitals, such as sotrovimab and remdesivir, work by either blocking the viral replication process, or by sticking onto the spike protein, stopping the virus from getting into the lungs.
“We knew that two medicines that work on COVID either block it from attaching or block its replication, so we looked at the science to understand if any nutraceuticals might work in a similar way,” says Mullan. “A lot of computer modelling has been done to try to understand if there are any existing compounds that block it. Out of 36 different compounds, one stood out above the rest, and that was quercetin, which really seems to be quite effective.”
Quercetin, resveratrol and NAC longevity supplements
Quercetin, a plant flavonoid found in capers and green tea, is well known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, and is also the subject of many healthspan extension studies in the longevity field.
The second key compound that humanpeople identified was resveratrol. Another compound synonymous with the longevity field, resveratrol is probably the best-known compound shown to extend the lifespan of single-cell organisms in the lab, and is also the subject of four ongoing clinical trials for treatment of COVID.
“Resveratrol, which is a very potent antioxidant, really seems to stop the replication of the virus into the cell,” says Mullan “So we felt it was a nice combination with quercetin – stop COVID attaching and stop it replicating.”
The cytokine storm created by COVID can cause lung damage, and causes the body to use up its store of antioxidants, in particular glutathione. For this reason, another compound included in the packs is N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), a glutathione precursor, which aims to redress the imbalance and to help “dampen down” the effects of the cytokine storm and the lung damage it can cause.
Other compounds in the packs include:
- Alpha lipoic acid, which increases T-cell activation in elderly populations.
- Zinc, which is essential for maintaining immune strength.
- Vitamin A, which stimulates a protective immune response, increasing resistance to infection.
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