Scientists in a "world first" study now say Australian garlic could be key to fighting COVID-19 infections and the flu.
In a study by the Melbourne-based Peter Doherty Institute, researchers extracted a specific ingredient, the Proprietary Ingredient SupaG, from Australian-grown garlic varieties.
Dr. Julie McAuley, manager of the high containment facility COVID-19 research lab at the Doherty Institute, said the team had assessed a variety of garlic products over the last 18 months—finding that a strain from Iraq was effective against COVID-19.
"We performed several blinded experiments and found one of [Australian Garlic Producers (AGP)] products could reduce the infectious titre of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza by 3-log-fold (99.9 percent). We could barely detect any remaining virus genome, indicating nearly complete virucidal activity.”
Plans to Retail the ProductThe AGP, who commissioned the study, will patent and commercialise the extraction process with plans to start retailing in supermarkets.
"Over the past 25 years, we have collected over 309 garlic cultivars from around the globe," said Nick Diamantopoulos, CEO of the AGP.
"Our extensive R&D over many years with leading Australian universities and institutions has shown that garlic varieties not only vary in their agronomic and physiological properties but also in their biochemical properties."
Diamantopoulos said the extensive research work is what led to the identification of "superior properties" in Australian garlic types.
The AGP harvests 100 percent of its garlic from the Australian jurisdictions of the Northern Territory, South Australia, New South Wales, and Victoria. The next study will look at the potential benefits of garlic in lowering cholesterol levels.
Paul Guerra, CEO of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce, said the partnership between the Doherty and AGP was a perfect example of how businesses and scientists could work together to deliver a "global game changer."
Meanwhile, former federal MP Craig Kelly accused governments of spending billions on vaccines when a vegetable could have achieved the same effect.