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Resveratrol and the Coronavirus

By Prof. Gene Bruno, MS, MHS, RH(AHG) Huntington University of Health Sciences

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In 2017, an in-vitro study1 examined the antiviral effect of resveratrol against cells from coronavirus infected patients. Results showed that resveratrol:

  • Significantly inhibited coronavirus infection
  • Significantly prolonged cellular survival after virus infection
  • Decreased the replication of nucleocapsid, a protein essential for coronavirus replication
  • Down-regulated apoptosis (i.e. cellular death) induced by coronavirus.

This study showed that resveratrol is a potent anti-coronavirus agent in-vitro, and the researchers suggested that resveratrol can be a potential antiviral agent against coronavirus in the near future. So, what was the mechanism of action by which resveratrol was effective against coronavirus? We don’t know for certain, but we do have a clue. Resveratrol can increase certain circulating immune cells known as gamma delta T cells.

Human researchwas conducted to assess the effects of repeated doses of resveratrol (1,000 mg/day for 28 days) on circulating immune cells in healthy individuals. The results were that resveratrol was safe and well tolerated and was associated with significant increases in the numbers of circulating gamma delta T cells (functioning as a first line of defense and a bridge between innate and adaptive responses) and regulatory T cells.

This becomes more meaningful when considering that analyses of T cell repertoires in health care workers who survived coronavirus infection during the 2003 outbreak revealed that their gamma delta T cell populations were selectively expanded about three months after the onset of disease. This was associated with higher production of anti-coronavirus immunoglobulin G titers. Furthermore, in-vitro experiments demonstrated that stimulated gamma delta T cells display an interferon- gamma -dependent anti-coronavirus activity and are able to directly kill coronavirus-infected target cells.

Collectively, these findings suggest that gamma delta T cells play a protective role during coronavirus3—and resveratrol increases the numbers of circulating gamma delta T cells. Although there have not yet been human clinical trials on the effects of resveratrol against coronavirus, it seems prudent to consider the use of this nutraceutical for protective effects. A dose of 1,000 mg of resveratrol daily is consistent with the amount used in human clinical research in which delta T cells were effectively increased.

References:

1 Lin SC, Ho CT, Chuo WH, Li S, Wang TT, Lin CC. Effective inhibition of MERS-CoV infection by resveratrol. BMC Infect Dis. 2017 Feb 13;17(1):144.

2 Espinoza JL, Trung LQ, Inaoka PT, Yamada K, An DT, Mizuno S, Nakao S, Takami A. The Repeated Administration of Resveratrol Has Measurable Effects on Circulating T-Cell Subsets in Humans. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2017;2017:6781872.

3 Poccia F, Agrati C, Castilletti C, Bordi L, Gioia C, Horejsh D, Ippolito G, Chan PK, Hui DS, Sung JJ, Capobianchi MR, Malkovsky M. Anti-severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus immune responses: the role played by V gamma 9V delta 2 T cells. J Infect Dis. 2006 May 1;193(9):1244-9.

Professor Gene Bruno, MS, MHS, the Provost for Huntington College of Health Sciences, is a nutritionist, herbalist, writer and educator. For more than 37 years he has educated and trained natural product retailers and health care professionals, has researched and formulated natural products for dozens of dietary supplement companies, and has written articles on nutrition, herbal medicine, nutraceuticals and integrative health issues for trade, consumer magazines and peer-reviewed publications. He can be reached at gbruno@hchs.edu.