KEY POINTS

  • The study was performed on monkey cells and human lung cells
  • Health experts warn that there is a big difference between laboratory and real-world results
  • The study's lead author said more research needs to be done on the effectiveness of milk and Benadryl against COVID-19

A homemade remedy of milk and Benadryl may not be effective in treating COVID-19 despite being promoted by a state lawmaker. 

Rep. Jeff McNeely, R-N.C., last week posted a study suggesting that compounds in milk and Benadryl can help treat COVID-19, adding a link to a November study by an immunologist at the University of Florida.

“Research is showing milk may be the answer to Covid-19,” McNeely wrote in a Facebook post.

The study found that a combination of diphenhydramine, an active ingredient in Benadryl, and lactoferrin, a protein found in milk, could potentially hamper the virus’ ability from replicating itself.

However, health experts warn that there is a big difference between the results of tests in monkey cells and human lung cells from the real world. 

“To push this as a potential therapy — based on this work only — is significantly premature,” Dr. Timothy Sheahan, a virologist at the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, told WFLA.

“Lots of things have shown antiviral activity in cells in a (Petri) dish. Many of those things when further studied don’t go on to actually have efficacy and activity in a person,” Sheahan said.

Dr. David Ostrov, an immunologist and associate professor at the University of Florida College of Medicine, who led the study, also warned that more research needs to be done to determine whether milk and Benadryl can be used to treat COVID-19 infections. 

Scientists and health experts still urge people to get vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 to protect them against severe illness, hospitalizations and deaths.

McNeely’s social media post comes as the United States witnesses another bleak moment of the COVID-19 pandemic, with health officers reporting an average of nearly 800,000 new infections and 1,900 deaths a day, according to an analysis of data conducted by The New York Times. 

The U.S. may continue to see a surge of cases fueled by the Omicron variant over the next few weeks, Dr. Vivek Murthy, the country’s surgeon general, suggested Sunday. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the country has logged a total of 65,698,495 COVID-19 cases and 850,605 deaths, data from Johns Hopkins University showed.

The Milko factory in Afghanistan's Kandahar province has to tread a careful line with both the Taliban and government officials The Milko factory in Afghanistan's Kandahar province has to tread a careful line with both the Taliban and government officials Photo: AFP / WAKIL KOHSAR