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Grant Abstract: Spirulina oral supplement for enhancing host resilience to virus infection

Grant Number: 1U19AT010838-01
PI Name: Khan
Project Title: Spirulina oral supplement for enhancing host resilience to virus infection

Abstract: The University of Mississippi (UM) Botanical Dietary Supplements Research Center (BDSRC) is focused on filling in knowledge gaps related to the potential for the Spirulina-based product, ImmulinaTM, to promote resilience against and/or recovery from influenza and, by extension, other respiratory viral infections. ImmulinaTM is a patented bioassay-standardized extract that concentrates the active immunostimulatory compounds in Spirulina, i.e., Braun-type lipoproteins. Researchers affiliated with the UM BDSRC have generated evidence that supports reproducible and mechanistically plausible effects of ImmulinaTM for enhancing host responses that may promote resilience against respiratory viral infections such as influenza. Last year in the U.S. alone, influenza resulted in 959,000 patient hospitalizations and 79,400 deaths. Under the direction of Ikhlas Khan, PhD and Nirmal Pugh, PhD, the UM BDSRC includes a well- established collaborative team of multi-disciplinary investigators with expertise in natural products, animal models of human diseases, pharmaceutics, immunology, and human subject research. The UM BDSRC will be composed of an Administration Core, a Botanical Core, and two research projects: (1) Unraveling Immune Enhancement by ImmulinaTM, and (2) Evaluation of ImmulinaTM Oral Supplement for Host Resistance to Influenza Virus Infection. The overall specific aims are to: (1) maximize coordination of effort, communication among researchers, training opportunities for career development, and dissemination of knowledge through a well-managed and effective Administrative Core; (2) ensure product integrity of the ImmulinaTM extract through a combination of bioassay- and chemical-based approaches for standardization within the Botanical Core; (3) determine the molecular mechanism of immune enhancement of ImmulinaTM and optimal formulation and dosing in Project 1’s mouse study that can be utilized by the UM BDSRC’s other studies; and (4) using both a mouse and subsequently a biomarker-based human model, establish the impact of ImmulinaTM supplementation on increasing host resilience against the pathogenic effects of influenza virus infection with Project 2. The Administrative Core, guided by an External Advisory Committee and an Internal Steering Committee, will oversee all aspects of the UM BDSRC, including progress towards meeting its milestones, efficient allocation of resources, collaborations with researchers outside the UM BDSRC, oversight of its graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, and maintenance of its website. Members of the Botanical Core will work closely with researchers from the UM BDSRC to provide sufficient quantities of standardized ImmulinaTM extract and to collaborate with other units of CARBON on future efficacy studies of ImmulinaTM. The results from Projects 1 and 2 will help establish the optimal regimen for future clinical efficacy trials. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: . Spirulina is a top selling botanical for improving immune health. This proposal is directed towards generating sufficient data to optimally design future human intervention studies to evaluate the utility of Spirulina-derived oral supplements in promoting resilience against viral infections such as influenza. The use of a Spirulina-derived oral supplement may provide an important complementary approach to currently available antiviral therapies that is inexpensive, safe and readily available to the public.

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