As well as a key source of nutrition in many diets around the world, potatoes also provide a range of raw materials for the food and manufacturing industry.

These materials include adhesives, coatings, proteins and starch to name a few. However, a new research project has recently received funding exploring the potential of these ingredients in the global fight against COVID-19.

The potato project, titled ‘Potato enzyme inhibitors for inhibition of SARS-CoV-22’ is being developed by Dutch potato starch manufacturer and co-operative Avebe.

The project is exploring a product extracted from purified potato protein, which can suppress the routes of infection and inhibit lung damage.

It is hoped that with this product, new medicines can be developed, such as creams and nasal sprays which may be more effective than existing medicines.

COVID-19 solutions

The research project is one of five innovative projects to receive grant aid.

Earlier this year, a total of €1m was made available for innovative COVID-19 solutions by the Dutch provinces of Drenthe, Friesland and Groningen, along with and the North Netherlands Partnership (SNN).

In total, 22 proposals were submitted by northern entrepreneurs, researchers and healthcare institutions.

The other four successful projects include:

  • Citrus bioflavonoid hesperidin as anti-viral agent for SARS-CoV-2 – Color & Brain BV.
  • Covid-19 total rehab – Lode BV.
  • The development of AhR inhibitors for oral antiviral therapy for COVID-19 patients – Syncom.
  • Virtual Reality against Covid-19 – Reducept BV.