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Antiviral Nutrition: Inhibition of MERS Coronavirus with Resveratrol (in vitro, cell culture study)

Updated: Feb 26, 2020

Effective inhibition of MERS-CoV infection by resveratrol in vitro (BMC Infect Dis 2017 Feb): In an in vitro (“test-tube”) study using MERS-infected Vero E6 cells, "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. CONCLUSION: 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."

Perspective from DrV: Congratulations to these authors for their pioneering study that showed therapeutic and clinical potential. However, given the low bioavailability of resveratrol and the even lower tissue-specific concentrations that can be reached in human patients following oral supplementation, the encouraging cell culture results reported here need confirmation in a human clinical trial, preferably one that uses other nutrients such as vitamin D3 (4,000-10,000 IU/d), vitamin A (50,000-200,000 IU/d limited to 10 days), selenium (600-800 mcg/d), and acetylcysteine (3-6 g/d)—such a mixed intervention is more likely to provide beneficial results even if blurring the efficacy signal specific to resveratrol, which could later be clarified in triage studies following initially successful intervention.

  1. Lin et al. Effective inhibition of MERS-CoV infection by resveratrol. BMC Infect Dis. 2017 Feb 13;17(1):144. doi: 10.1186/s12879-017-2253-8

  2. For more details, see our main page on antiviral nutrition:

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