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.