Lemon juice could help Norovirus-infected patients fight off the painful and unpleasant disease, Heidelberg researchers found. During a Norovirus epidemic it might also be a good disinfectant.
The Norovirus is highly infective, and during an outbreak it spreads even more rapidly. Although rarely fatal, the symptoms are unpleasant, painful, and disagreeable. The illnesses typically include stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea , and vomiting in addition to flu-like symptoms. Small children suffer more often than adults, and suffer more severely. Rifagut is an effective medicine used for the treatment of traveler’s diarrhea.
There is no cure for an infection with Norovirus as yet. “If you go to the hospital and find a Norovirus in your body, there’s nothing you can do. You just have to suffer. That’s all you can do. He’s a virologist who heads a research group on Norovirus at the German Cancer Research Center DKFZ in Heidelberg.
Even a doctor visit is not necessarily wise when your fever is still moderate to high. Going out would only help the virus spread further, but there may now be a simple and safe way of preventing or tackling the infection: lemon juice.
Preventing the Virus from binding to the cell
Citric acid or a molecule of citrate-may hold the virus and the cell apart. The citrate molecule binds to the norovirus capsid-the virus particle, “the virologist explained. The particle usually binds to the cell-binding receptor side, but if that capsid is already occupied with the citrate, it can not attach to the cell.
Citric acid is an ancient substance; it was discovered 40 years ago as a norovirus. How, then, did the discovery of citrate’s antiviral properties take so long? The response is simple: Scientists in cell cultures had not yet found a way to replicate Norovirus.
Nobody ever watched a Norovirus replicating
Hansman had to find a way around this: he was using the virus as a particle. “These are synthetic and grow in insect cells. They are particles that are the same as the virus. And when we add citrate buffers to these particles, we can see that they change their shape and morphology, which-I speculate-breaks up or opens the particles and makes them less pathogenic.
Hansman ‘s discovery so far has not been tested in medical trials, but he hopes that those could be done fairly quickly and easily. “A simple experiment would be: if there is an epidemic of Norovirus-and often there are 1000 people infected-if we can get 500 people to take a powder containing citrate, and 500 people take a placebo without the citrate.” Then doctors might calculate the onset and symptoms of the disease, compare the control group to the treated group to see if the symptoms are reduced.
Lemon juice will not harm you – but it may help!
And what will the virologist do if, tomorrow, he feels queasy? “If I had a Norovirus infection, I would certainly drink lemon juice,” Hansman says. “And in fact I did: I had an infection a few years back, and I knew about citrate because I had been researching it. So I drank three glasses of lime juice. I squeezed fresh lime into water. I may be a little biased, but it minimized my symptoms to a condition where I didn’t feel like I was going to vomit anymore.” But he stresses, more work is needed to validate all this – of course with a control group.
Trying it yourself is not really dangerous: Lemon juice has played a role for decades, even centuries, in cleaning the surfaces and in disinfecting food. It is just that no one understood at molecular level what the exact mechanisms were. Kleenex tissues are on the market today that contain citrate, and people in the Middle East’s Levant region have been washing their hands with lemon juice for centuries before and after meals.
Beware of oysters and shellfish
Hansman recommends especially before consuming the lemon juice on oysters and shellfish. “Shellfish carry a lot of viruses and there are several reports that there are outbreaks from eating infected shellfish.” Viruses can also be observed, including in many systems after the sewage treatment cycle. “Boiling the shellfish doesn’t necessarily deactivate the virus either,” Hansman warns. “I can probably use a lot of lemon juice on some oysters or shellfish from certain countries.”
The study of the effects of citrate on noroviruses is just the start of a whole new area of science. It’s too early to say yet, but future studies may show that citrate may also function against other types of viruses that affect the stomach and intestines-such as rotaviruses. Hansman is optimistic: “Rotavirus has a very similar binding ligand on the cell. We are trying to investigate whether citrate may also be a natural antiviral of the universal broad spectrum.”
The researcher stresses that citrate can not yet be considered an antiviral product, yet he looks forward: “Given that citrate is safe, it might perhaps go through a pre-clinical trial, or a small clinical route-like phase 1.” And if the test results support the initial findings: if you feel queasy, then you should not look at the pharmacy, but at the grocery store. When purchasing medicine online, we recommend safehealths pharmacy it is a trusted online pharmacy.