In this interview, Germano Tarantino, the Scientific Director at PharmaNutra S.p.A, talks to NewsMed about long-COVID (also known as chronic COVID syndrome).
To begin, can you tell us a bit about chronic COVID syndrome (also known as Long-COVID) and some of its symptoms?
Long-COVID is a syndrome characterized by long-term SARS-CoV-2 infection symptoms persistent at least 4 weeks from the onset of symptoms. In fact, even if most people affected by COVID-19 recover completely within a few weeks, some other, continue to experience symptoms after many weeks or months
Common signs and symptoms that linger over time include: fatigue, dyspnea, joint pain, chest pain, cough, memory, concentration or sleep problems, anxiety or depression.
Are then any indications of the factors/causation of chronic COVID syndrome – such as age or severity of the original COVID infection?
Chronic fatigue, mainly, is a persistent symptom both in patients who have experienced a severe infection and in those who have experienced a mild form of infection. Some studies reported that women are most likely to be susceptible to symptoms for months afterwards. A study led by the University of Glasgow concluded that women who were under 50 are seven times more likely to be breathless and twice as likely to report fatigue than men, seven months after seeking medical assistance for Covid-19.
In general, what advantages have amino acids and phytoextracts shown in regard to human health and improving fatigue?
Amino acid supplementation has been shown to stimulate the immune system as well as to improve physical endurance and to enhances recovery from fatigue. Phytoextracts include a huge family of components having a lot of different effect on human body. Among them there are some having an effect on the energy metabolism and mental fatigue. Several studies showed, for example, the activity of Panax ginseng in counteracting chronic fatigue and its positive effect on the memory of healthy volunteers are also recognized. Similar effect showed Eleutherococcus senticosus enhancing recovery from physical fatigue.
Can you tell us about Apportal®, a targeted nutritional supplement, and its role in improving fatigue and quality of life of those suffering from chronic COVID syndrome?
Apportal® is a unique nutritional supplement based on a specific formulation of 19 nutrients, developed to achieve four main actions: antioxidant, immune modulation, antiasthenic and energy metabolism enhancer. In people suffering from chronic Covid syndrome all these affects contribute effectively to reduce fatigue firstly and to enhance general wellbeing and quality of life, favouring normal immune function at the same time.
During the development of Apportal®, what were some of the challenges you came up against, and how were these overcome?
The main challenges were technological issues. Our aim, as a Company, is always to make available to people products overcoming tolerability, absorption and stability limits. In Apportal®, the combination of minerals, aminoacids, phytoextracts and vitamins lead to a potential instability over time and high competition for intestinal absorption between some nutrients. We successfully applied our patented Sucrosomial® technology in order to bypass the above limit. We obtained a great product in terms of stability, tolerability and proper absorption rate of each nutrient, achieving at the same time an excellent solubility (in half glass of water) and taste.
Can you also tell us about the results surrounding the study conducted on post-COVID patients suffering from fatigue who were given the nutritional supplement Apportal®?
This study shows that Apportal® can reduce chronic fatigue and improve quality of life and health status in subjects after SARS-CoV-2 negativity due to the synergistic effect of its components. This represents an opportunity and a possible solution for doctors and healthcare professionals for speeding up the recovery of subjects with chronic post-Covid fatigue.
Are there any types of individuals that Apportal®, proved to be more effective in? How did this factor in their recovery times?
Apportal® appears to be effective in almost all subjects (90.05%), regardless of gender, age, and severity of the infectious disease.
How important is it that more investigations/studies are conducted going forward in order to raise awareness of long-Covid and the role nutritional supplements can play in recovery?
This is very important. There is a need of evidences showing the efficacy (or inefficacy) of nutritional supplements. In fact, in this pandemic we read a lot of news about one or more nutrients to be helpful for long-Covid, but no studies have been published on finished products or single nutrient. There is a need to demonstrate which mix of nutrients and what dosages could be helpful. This is what we have demonstrated with Apportal®, being our study the first essential step before releasing any information to the consumers.
Where can readers find more information?
About PharmaNutra S.p.A
Founded and led by the President Andrea Lacorte and Vice President Roberto Lacorte, PharmaNutra was established in 2003. It develops unique nutritional supplements and innovative medical devices, handling the entire production process, from proprietary raw materials to the finished product. The effectiveness of its products is documented by considerable scientific proof, including 140 publications. The Group distributes and sells its products in Italy and abroad. In Italy, products are sold through a network of 150 Pharmaceutical Representatives serving doctors and also exclusively selling PharmaNutra products to pharmacies throughout Italy. Products are sold in over 50 countries abroad, through 39 partners selected from among the finest pharmaceutical companies. PharmaNutra leads the market in the production of iron-based nutritional supplements under the SiderAL® brand, where it boasts a number of important patents on Sucrosomial® technology. Over the years, the Group has developed a precise strategy for the management and production of intellectual property, founded on the integrated management of all the various elements: proprietary raw materials, patents, brands and clinical evidence.
About Germano Tarantino
Germano Tarantino graduated in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Pisa in 2003. After carrying out extensive studies in the field of human clinical nutrition, he has held the position of Scientific Director at the company. Since 2011, he has been the Chief Scientific Officer of the company.
Germano Tarantino carries out research and invention on sucrosomial solutions with human application.