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   Feb 13

An excuse to order pizza? Compound found in oregano ‘may help ward off the winter vomiting bug’

Carvacrol strips away norovirus’ protein coat making it easier to destroy

It could be used to make a long-lasting, non-corrosive, fume-free sanitizer

Everyone knows that pizza is unhealthy and can lead to weight gain but new research suggests it could have one health benefit.

An ingredient in pizza may help ward off the notorious winter vomiting bug, the study revealed.

Carvacrol, a plant compound in the herb oregano, is effective against highly infectious norovirus, researchers found.

An ingredient in pizza may help ward off the notorious winter vomiting bug, norovirus, a new study has revealed

The herb chemical strips the virus of its ‘armour’, a tough outer protein coat, making it more vulnerable and easier to destroy.

Lead researcher Dr Kelly Bright, from the University of Arizona, said:

‘Carvacrol could potentially be used as a food sanitizer and possibly as a surface sanitizer, particularly in conjunction with other antimicrobials.

‘We have some work to do to assess its potential but carvacrol has a unique way of attacking the virus, which makes it an interesting prospect.’

Norovirus is a common cause of food-borne disease and a particular problem in nursing homes, hospitals, cruise ships and schools.

Although unpleasant, the infection usually passes in a few days. But it can pose a dangerous threat to some people with underlying medical problems.

Experiments showed that carvacrol acts directly on the capsid, the tough shell of proteins surrounding the virus that encloses its genetic material.

Carvacrol, a plant compound in the herb oregano, strips away the tough protein coat around the virus
Because carvacrol attacks external elements of norovirus, it is unlikely to trigger the development of resistance, the scientists believe.

Used as a sanitizer it would be long-lasting, non-corrosive, fume-free and safe, say the experts.

They see it being especially useful in settings where people may be vulnerable to the effects of strong bleach or alcohol-based cleaners, such as care homes and schools.

However, the scientists stress that no amount of pizza consumption will protect anyone from norovirus.

Nor do they recommend taking concentrated carvacrol, which though non-toxic would cause burning and numbness of the tongue.

The research is published in the latest edition of the Journal Of Applied Microbiology.

Source: Daily Mail

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