You may or may not have heard of resveratrol. Certainly, it’s a difficult word to pronounce. A decade or so ago, scientists examined the active ingredients in red wine and whether it helped the French live longer and healthier lives even though their diet was full of fat and red meat. They discovered that one of the active ingredients that might aid in their longevity was resveratrol.
Resveratrol is found in grapes, fruits such as blueberries, peanuts, strawberries etc. But, the funny thing about this compound was that in vitro experiments showed that it was an anti-viral also. Again, I am not suggesting it is a cure for covid-19 but when scientists exposed cells that were infected with MERS (a coronavirus relative to covid-19), resveratrol inhibited these cells from getting infected. Of course, as a scientist we would have to conduct blinded clinical trial in animals and humans to ascertain its efficacy with certainty, it sure makes for an intriguing anti-viral prospect.
Here’s the abstract!
BMC Infect Dis. 2017 Feb 13;17(1):144. doi: 10.1186/s12879-017-2253-8.
Effective inhibition of MERS-CoV infection by resveratrol.
Lin SC1, Ho CT2, Chuo WH3, Li S4, Wang TT5, Lin CC6,7,8,9.
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is an emerging viral pathogen that causes severe morbidity and mortality. Up to date, there is no approved or licensed vaccine or antiviral medicines can be used to treat MERS-CoV-infected patients. Here, we analyzed the antiviral activities of resveratrol, a natural compound found in grape seeds and skin and in red wine, against MERS-CoV infection.
We performed MTT and neutral red uptake assays to assess the survival rates of MERS-infected Vero E6 cells. In addition, quantitative PCR, western blotting, and immunofluorescent assays determined the intracellular viral RNA and protein expression. For viral productivity, we utilized plaque assays to confirm the antiviral properties of resveratrol against MERS-CoV.
Resveratrol significantly inhibited MERS-CoV infection and prolonged cellular survival after virus infection. We also found that the expression of nucleocapsid (N) protein essential for MERS-CoV replication was decreased after resveratrol treatment. Furthermore, resveratrol down-regulated the apoptosis induced by MERS-CoV in vitro. By consecutive administration of resveratrol, we were able to reduce the concentration of resveratrol while achieving inhibitory effectiveness against MERS-CoV.
In this study, we first demonstrated that resveratrol is a potent anti-MERS agent in vitro. We perceive that resveratrol can be a potential antiviral agent against MERS-CoV infection in the near future.