Intrigued by reports that resveratrol inhibits DNA synthesis, John Docherty of the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, Rootstown, Ohio, and his colleagues tested the compound and several simple derivatives on various DNA viruses growing in cell cultures.
One resveratrol derivative, designated stil-5, is particularly effective against herpes simplex viruses (HSV)-1 and -2, killing over 99.9% of these viruses in culture.
Resveratrol and its derivatives appear to knock out two crucial regulatory proteins, ICP-4 and ICP-27, during the first stage of the viral replication process, halting further activity.
"It is quite potent," Docherty
"Frankly, it kind of surprised us when we saw it.
However, realizing that in nature resveratrol likely wards off infectious agents that alight on grapes, the greater surprise is that no one recognized or tested its broader antimicrobial properties sooner, he
Since millions of people consume resveratrol in wine and other similar constituents of wines and other foods everyday, Docherty
says that the compound and its derivatives are unlikely to be toxic.
But individuals who suffer from herpesvirus infections should not expect to be drinking away their infection-related problems anytime soon, according to Docherty
envisions a topical gel or cream that would be applied directly to herpetic lesions.
and his colleagues are focusing on a single natural product and a set of derivatives, Peter McCarthy and his colleagues at the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution
(HBOI) in Fort Pierce, Fla., are looking much more broadly at a collection of some 27,000 natural specimens amassed during 15 years of ocean scavenging.