Lectins Inhibit Coronaviruses
The International Journal of Coronaviruses recommends increasing consumption of mannose binding lectins to minimize COVID-19 infection risk because these plant based molecules are key players in the body's innate immune system. There are many different kinds of lectins and not all are created equal, especially when it comes to fighting the coronavirus.
Mannose binding lectins are glycoproteins (sugars/carbohydrates attached to a protein) that possess specialized binding properties. The spike protein in coronaviruses are also glycoproteins and the main tool the corona virion (infectious component of a virus) utilizes to infect its host. Mannose binding lectins inhibit coronaviruses by interfering with the viral replication cycle because they hinder virion attachment to the host cell by targeting cell entry.
Mannose binding lectins found in plants are potent inhibitors of coronaviruses. The body also produces mannose binding lectins in the liver and subsequently secretes them in the blood as a part of the innate immune system and Complement system. Specific mannose binding lectins scientists have discovered to be effective against coronaviruses are found in bananas (BanLec), red algae (Griffithsia sp.), blue-green algae (cyanobacterium), legumes and Jerusalem artichokes with the most potent lectin in leek.
A 2017 study explores how natural plant based lectins inhibit the replication of viruses, particularly coronaviruses, HIV and other enveloped viruses through the mannose binding lectin pathway.