Human breast milk could help to prevent or treat Covid-19, according to a new study by Chinese scientists, lending support to World Health Organisation guidelines that mothers should breastfeed their newborn babies even if they are infected with the coronavirus.

The study, conducted by researchers from the Beijing University of Chemical Technology, has found that whey proteins from human breast milk can inhibit the coronavirus by “blocking viral attachment, entry and even post-entry viral replication”.

The results were published on biorxiv.org, a preprint site for biology studies. The paper is yet to be peer-reviewed.

The research showed that whey proteins in cow and goat milk also could inhibit the coronavirus but are less effective than human breast milk, which is believed to have higher concentration