New research conducted by scientists at the University of Banja Luka in Bosnia and Herzegovina discovered that pomegranate peel extracts can play a role in inhibiting coronavirus or COVID-19 infection, as per reports. "When the World Health Organization declared SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, we had an ongoing project [which] explored the health beneficial effects of pomegranate polyphenols extracted from peels of pomegranate fruit," Relja Suručić, the scientist who was leading the study stated.
"And at that time, reading other authors' studies, we have realized that some of the compounds chemically identified in those extracts showed significant antiviral activities against some other and different viruses. So we decided to test our compounds on SARS-CoV-2," the researcher added.
COVID-19 and Pomegranate Peel Extract
Pomegranate has been earlier discovered to have beneficial effects on other diseases like type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular diseases, inflammatory diseases, and even a few types of cancer. The peel extracts were found to have effects in preventing influenza virus entry RNA transcription. "We all know that pomegranate fruit had some beneficial health effects," says Suručić. "And in our study, we confirmed some of these aspects like anti-inflammatory effects of lowering cholesterol, lowering sugar," the researcher stated.
The team made use of computational methods to see if the compounds from the peels can inhibit the viral internalization when the deadly virus enters the body looking for the host cell and prevent the infection.
Suručić stated that the team mentioned the compounds have the potential of inhibiting this process, but it's far away from clear evidence. The team is now continuing the research in vitro, working with the spike proteins of the coronavirus. Results have not been yet published but the expert stated that they confirm the earlier study. The expert also warned about exaggerating and calling pomegranate a cure for coronavirus.
"But there is something, of course, with these natural products – we are finding everyday evidence that some people get infected, some not, even if they are in contact with COVID-19 patients. So maybe there is something in their diet or in the supplements that they are taking that could decrease the risk of getting infected. This is the idea behind our research," the expert stated.
Currently, the team is looking at the use of the peel extract for preventive treatment. They are targeting to go on with their research exploring the effects of the pomegranate compounds during the phase of the viral infection.