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Scientists from an Australian biotechnology company Marinova Pty Ltd, have successfully isolated a natural extract from seaweed that has been proven to inhibit the H1N1 virus, a breakthrough that is anticipated as it offers hope in the management of influenza outbreaks.

The extract, which is a fucoidan compound retrieved from a species of seaweed called Undaria pinnatifida. The company which has extensive research and manufacturing facilities at Hobart, Tasmania has chosen the name for the potent extract, which is Maritech®926.

The extract has been shown to have the ability to inhibit the H1N1 influenza virus at extremely low doses, according to in vitro test results performed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the US.

Maritech®926 was developed by the Australian biotech company Marinova Pty Ltd. It is a natural polysaccharide that carries great market potential in nutritional supplements, hand soaps and nasal delivery products that aims to control the spread and stop viral infection.

The results from new research on the fucoidan extracts have caused the biotech company to apply for patent protection over its new Maritech®926 and other derivative extracts with the capability to control viral spread.

Dr Helen Fitton, senior scientist of Marinova is confident with the results of the company's new discovery and believes that it is a fresh new answer to the swine flu outbreak dilemma.

Fucoidan extracts such as Maritech®926 are known to have significant inhibitory effects on a range of coated viruses.

We are particularly excited by the fact that these seaweed extracts have now been shown to have an inhibitory effect on H1N1 at extremely low concentrations.

With H1N1 already becoming resistant to some other antiviral agents, we believe that Maritech®926 offers a potent, natural alternative which supports the immune system against viral attacks, said Dr Fitton.