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Curcumin in Viral Infections

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that one major public health issue is viral infection. During the last few decades, a number of viral epidemics, such as SARS- Coronavirus (Severe acute Respiratory Syndrome: 2002-03), H1N1 influenza, Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-Cov: 2012), and others have been identified and recorded. The recent Coronavirus – COVID-19 is the most recent entrant to the list. It has already been termed as a pandemic by WHO.

How viruses attack differently

The first and foremost thing to note is that viruses work by completely hijacking the inner machinery of your own body cells and replicates them to make their own copies. This leads to infection which, among other things, leads to inflammation. Viruses have the ability to kill, damage, and change the cells in your body — this makes you sick. Not all viruses, of course, are the same. Some viruses attack the respiratory system while others may affect different systems of the body. In some cases where the viral infection is not severe, your immune system will be able to fight it off. However, in case of severe viral infections, this may not be the case. For most viral infections, treatments are usually focussed on helping and managing the symptoms.

Viruses can either be DNA viruses, or RNA viruses. This depends on whether they use the DNA, or the RNA, to replicate. The most common viral infections affect the

  • Respiratory tract
  • The gastrointestinal tract
  • Liver
  • Nervous system
  • Skin
  • Blood

The most recent viral infection that has taken the world by storm, as already cited, is COVID -19. The viral disease is caused by the new Coronavirus. Unlike other viral infections, COVID-19 results in serious and sometimes fatal symptoms.

How do symptoms surface during viral infections such as Coronavirus?

The signs and symptoms of viral infections depend on the virus that you have been infected with. In case of the recent Coronavirus the symptoms may range from normal flu like symptoms, or fever, to more severe symptoms, such as severe problems in breathing, continuous pain in the chest, bluish lips and face, difficulty in doing day-to-day activities, difficulty waking up, etc.

Who is more at risk?

Based on current information, those individuals who are most at risk are:

  • People with a compromised immune system
  • Elderly people (above age 65, mostly men)
  • People suffering from pre-existing chronic medical conditions
  • People who are in detention facilities, or those who live and work in a group setting.

Prevention and Management

The most important thing to note is that antibiotics are not effective against viral infections. Also, self-medication to treat viral infections is not advisable. It is always best to visit your doctor and follow their instructions regarding the plan of action to be followed. For most symptoms, treatment options such as over-the-counter pain killers are given to ease pain and also reduce fever until the virus has been treated. In case of certain viral infections, such as COVID-19, there are no specific treatment options available. However, certain non-pharmacological approaches may be considered,viz.,

  • Consumption of more fluids, sometimes intravenously
  • Saline nasal decongestants may be used
  • Prolonged rest
  • Consuming a balanced diet
  • Natural researched ingredients that have anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, such as Curcumin, resveratrol and vitamin C, etc.

Curcumin and Viral Infections

The antiviral activity of curcumin has been discussed on in scientific literature and other platforms. Due to lack of preventative and therapeutic options for many viral infections, several studies have been conducted to investigate the antiviral potential of natural compounds, such as Curcumin. Curcumin has demonstrated wide antiviral potential against a variety of viral infections including:

  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • Hepatitis virus
  • Influenza A virus
  • Herpes virus
  • Human papillomavirus
  • Respiratory syncytial virus
  • Noroviruses
  • Arboviruses
  • Rhinoviruses

Curcumin also helps in the management of symptoms occurring during viral infections, like fever, chills and inflammation. A molecular modelling study was carried out to determine the effect of curcumin on SARS-Cov-2 infection, recently. It was observed that curcumin shows potential inhibitory action against SARS-Cov-2 infection during molecular modelling study and can, therefore, be used as a preventative, or adjuvant, to help people presenting with a host of viral infections.

Curcumin is a useful, efficacious adjuvant in treating the classical symptoms in bronchial asthma, congestion of nose and airways due to cough, cold, or inflammation, and shortness of breath, or difficulty in breathing — a classical sign of covid-19 infection. Curcumin is a natural immune booster. It helps to fight against viral copying, or replication — the most dangerous consequence of covid-19 infection. The best part is curcumin also has the ability to overpower countless inflammatory particles that may be the cause of tissue damage, triggered by a variety of viruses. It not only reduces covert and overt symptoms, but it also provides tangible clinical relief, without side-effects.

However this maybe, most of the curcumin available have certain issues such with regard to their bioavailability and absorbability. This means only a small amount of the active constituent is able to make its way into the systemic circulation. Hence, innovative and novel approaches need to be employed to ensure higher bioavailability of curcumin. Ultrasol, a novel, patented and sophisticated molecular dispersion process enhances the bioavailability of curcumin by 46 times as compared to standard curcumin. Curcumin obtained from Ultrasol technology exerts much better and far superior, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative and antiviral properties and it also technically addresses the issue of lack of bioavailability and solubility. This, in turn, ensures that the right dose of curcumin reaches the systemic circulation and helps in providing the desired clinical action, or benefit, that is intended.

The summary is evident. The use of curcumin in respiratory diseases provides substantial relief in cough, breathlessness, and respiratory distress — the headline sign and cause of most deaths in advanced cases of COVID-19, around the world.

References
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2. Praditya D, Kirchhoff L, Brüning J, Rachmawati H, Steinmann J, Steinmann E. Anti-infective Properties of the Golden Spice Curcumin. Frontiers in Microbiology. 2019;10.
3. Mirsaeidi M, Motahari H, Taghizadeh Khamesi M, Sharifi A, Campos M, Schraufnagel DE. Climate Change and Respiratory Infections. Annals of the American Thoracic Society. 2016 Aug;13(8):1223-30.
4. Rahmani AH, Alsahli MA, Aly SM, Khan MA, Aldebasi YH. Role of Curcumin in Disease Prevention and Treatment. Advanced Biomedical Research. 2018;7.
5. Overview of Viral Infections By Laura D Kramer , PhD, Wadsworth Center, NYSDOH Last full review/revision Mar 2018| Content last modified, Apr 2018.
6. Utomo RY, Meiyanto E. Revealing the Potency of Citrus and Galangal Constituents to Halt SARS-CoV-2 Infection.