Breadcrumbs

Waikato researcher working on miracle vitamin that could lower Covid mortality

22 February 2021

Dr Aydin Berenjian
Dr Aydin Berenjian

A University of Waikato researcher is working on a type of Vitamin K that could reduce the mortality rate among Covid-19 patients.

Dr Aydin Berenjian is a key member of the University’s Chemical and Biological Engineering team and a world renowned expert in menaquinone-7, a type of vitamin.  He has been working in collaboration with Penn State University, in Pennsylvania, since 2014 to develop a new technology to produce the vitamin for commercial use.

Menaquinone-7 is already known to aid in the prevention of osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease and now there is evidence that it may be effective in helping people with Covid-19  recovery.

“We are currently working with leading biopharma companies at state-of-the-art facilities to scale up the technology used to produce menaquinone-7 and hopefully make it available for industrial production.”

It is found that vitamin menaquinone-7 deficiency results in an increase in calcification and degradation of elastic fibres in lung tissue, leading to more severe lung damage in  Covid-19 patients.

“This vitamin is a hidden miracle because of its extraordinary health benefits,” says Dr Berenjian.

Menaquinone-7 is not readily found in western diets and is far less readily available than phylloquinone, the other type of vitamin K we get from green leafy vegetables.

Menaquinone-7 could be found in a Japanese fermented soybean called natto and there are also small amounts found in fermented cheeses, but not at the concentration levels required to affect the body.

Dr Berenjian and his team have recently filed a PCT application to patent the technology to produce the vitamin for industrial production.

His research was deemed so important Dr Berenjian was given a special dispensation to travel to Penn State University in Pennsylvania during Donald Trump’s Proclamation suspending entries to the United States.

“I think this really shows the quality of our research and the international impact it is having.”

“We hope we are able to scale up the production and successfully make it available for industrial production really soon,” says Dr Berenjian.


This research aligns with the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:

Good Health and Well-being

Latest stories

Related stories

Ahuroa Leach

Scholarship recipient researches affordable energy for impoverished communities

Unleashing the power of waves and wind to provide affordable electricity to New Zealand’s most…

Science alumna wins prestigious conservation award

Science alumna, wetlands expert and advocate Dr Beverley Clarkson has been awarded the Loder Cup…

Research shows oxytocin could be used as an appetite suppressant

Oxytocin, the drug sometimes called the love hormone, and which is used to bring on…

Engineering student’s drive to succeed

Tom Miller admits the decision to quit his job, move from Auckland to Hamilton and…

Scholarship empowers women in STEM

Engineering student Isobella Nicholls and Computing and Mathematical Science student Courtney Wilson are the inaugural…

Medalists

2021 Hillary Medalists named

Two alumni, Courtney Richmond and Tim Neild, have been named as the 2021 Hillary Medalists…

Professor Taciano Milfont

Waikato appoints three new Professors

University of Waikato Vice-Chancellor Professor Neil Quigley has announced promotion to Professor for three academics,…

Vic Arcus web

Battling cattle bloat

Why are some cows more susceptible than others to bloat? Scientists think a single protein…

PhD student

University of Waikato researchers to lead seaweed farming trials in Hauraki Gulf and Bay of Plenty

University of Waikato researchers’ Dr Marie Magnusson and Dr Rebecca Lawton will receive $1.2 million…

Dr Deniz Özkundakci

Toihuarewa – Waimāori Chair in Lake and Fresh Water Science appointment confirmed

Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Regional Council and the University of Waikato have appointed Dr…

asparagus picker

Roadmap launched to grow NZ’s robotics industry

With robotics and automation set to replace 46 percent of day jobs by 2040, a…

Steve Hodgkinson

Alumnus working at the forefront of new immunity support against Covid-19

University of Waikato alumnus Dr Steve Hodgkinson is CEO at RuaTech where he is part…