Is Aronia viable for overcoming the Coronavirus?

Corona Virus(COVID-19) related Image, JustNature Blog

It is only a few years after MERS that Aronia has once again become the target of people's attention over the world due to the spread of COVID-19. The potent antiviral effects and immune-boosting power of Aronia are in the spotlight again, and some people even consider Aronia a better antiviral drug than Oseltamivir(Tamiflu). Though may it seem a bit of an exaggeration, but still, some experts sincerely suggest taking Aronia supplements along with Oseltamivir to deal with an oseltamivir-resistant strain.

Aronia is the leader among other fruits and berries with the highest content of anthocyanin and total polyphenols. On average, Aronia berries can have up to 10-20 g polyphenols in 1 kg, and the content of anthocyanins may reach 4.0~8.5 g in 1 kg (according to the data from the University of Illinois). So it is by no means surprising after all to find antiviral properties with Aronia since the polyphenols are known to be synthesized in plants in response to microbial invasion.
To canvass how Aronia exerts its positive influence on breaking down Coronavirus or on blocking its infectivity, we first need to scope on the general traits of the infecting mechanism of the virus. Viruses cannot reproduce without the assistance of a host. Viruses infect a host by introducing their genetic material into the cells and hijacking the cell's internal machinery to make more virus particles. With an active viral infection, a virus causes copies of itself and bursts the host cell (killing it) to set the newly-formed virus particles free.
We could infer from the above description a plausible and straightforward solution for overcoming COVID-19, which is putting an end to each phase of the process or slowing it down, at least. Firstly, we need to inhibit viruses from introducing their genetic material into the cells by hindering their adsorption on the surface of the cells. Secondly, we must be able to stop them from hijacking the cell's internal machinery to make more virus particles by disabling them from making copies of themselves. Thirdly, preventing those newly-formed virus particles from being released free. 

The first phase of the ADSORPTION and the last stage of the RELEASE could be prevented or slowed down by inhibiting the viral neuraminidase, which are enzymes found on the surface of viruses that enable them to adsorb at first and later to burst out from the host cells. Anthocyanin fractions of all wild berries can also strongly inhibit the second stage of the REPLICATION of the influenza virus.

There have been quite a few studies showing the inhibiting activity of anthocyanins of wild berries against influenza viruses. However, one can hardly find study results of anthocyanins concerning COVID-19 since we are still in the middle of the pandemic crisis. So we cannot say for sure the inhibiting activity of anthocyanins will also work effectively with the COVID-19, but we can predict it might help to overcome the virus in every possible way.


Related Studies on Antiviral Effects of Anthocyanins

-Aronia melanocarpa and its components demonstrate antiviral activity against influenza viruses [Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 440 (2013) 14–19] 

-In vitro antiviral activity of a series of wild berry fruit extracts against representatives of Picorna-, Orthomyxo- and Paramyxoviridae. [Nat Prod Commun. 2014 Jan;9(1):51-4]

-Relationship between polyphenol content and anti-influenza viral effects of berries. [ J Sci Food Agric. 2013 Jul;93(9):2239-41. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.6031. Epub 2013 Jan 28.]

-The activity of anthocyanins from fruit extract of Ribes nigrum L. against influenza A and B viruses [Acta Virol. 2001;45(4):209-15]

-Novel Antiviral Activity of Anthocyanins: An In Silico Approach [VRI Bioinfo & Proteo, Volume 3, Issue 1, May 2015]

-Aronia melanocarpa and its components demonstrate antiviral activity against influenza viruses
[Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 440(1) September 2013]
-Antiviral activity of chlorogenic acid against influenza A (H1N1/H3N2) virus and its inhibition of neuraminidase [Scientific Reports volume 7, Article number: 45723 (2017)]
Written by JustNature BioLab