Doctors and scientists are at work in order to find out a vaccine and an effective cure against novel coronavirus, a type of virus that until now hasn’t been observed in humans. Beyond the important preventive measures that we can put into practice in order to limit transmission, such as avoiding gathering of people, maintaining a safe distance and reducing sociality, that we exposed in previous articles, researchers are trying to understand if nature may be a help also in this case. Well, this is a news dating back a few days ago, a Canadian team of the Clinical Research Institute of Montreal states that quercetin, an antioxidant present naturally in several foods, may act as a vaccine and a cure against novel coronavirus.
The conditional is needed since the authors of the study, the researchers Dr. Michel Chrétien and Majambu Mbikay, invite to prudence but are quite optimistic and are waiting to start experimenting a drug based on quercetin in China. Quercetin has shown antiviral properties by counteracting influenza A, but also Ebola and Zika (Xu et al, Front Cell Infect Microbiol, 2020). The Canadian researchers started from the consideration that novel coronavirus infects people in the same way as the other viruses that we’ve already known during these years. For this reason, the drug that they developed may have really the possibility to avoid the virus entering into the cell and growing in the body.
In addition to this, quercetin has a strength. In fact, previous studies performed on strains of influenza A and B have observed that quercetin inhibits these viruses but also that the viruses are not able to develop resistance to quercetin (Kim et al, Antiviral Res, 2010).
What scientists developed is a drug with a high dosage of quercetin. However, as said, at the moment this treatment is in study phase. In the meantime, waiting for other news, we can do a lot to stay healthy. In addition to limiting the transmission by following the hygiene rules, it is also important to boost the immune system by counteracting chronic stress, namely staying calm with yoga, manual activity or taking care of the garden, and by eating well, bringing to the body vitamins, mineral salts and antioxidants. For sure it may be helpful to include in the diet foods that are sources of quercetin such as apples, berries, capers, onion, shallot, tomatoes, elderberries in form of juice, nuts but also tea, both green and black, dill and oregano (Li et al, Nutrients, 2016 - USDA Database).
Finally, a special thanks to Walter, that made possible to write this article. I thank you again Walter for your emails, always full of news and information!