Chios mastic gum inhibits influenza A virus replication and viral pathogenicity
Chios mastic gum (CMG), a resin of the mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus var. Chia), has been used to treat multiple disorders caused by gastrointestinal malfunctions and bacterial infections for more than 2500 years.
However, little is known about CMG’s antiviral activity. CMG is known to influence multiple cellular processes such as cell proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis. As virus replication is largely dependent on the host cellular metabolism, it is conceivable that CMG regulates virus infectivity.
Therefore, in this study, we evaluated CMG’s potential as an antiviral drug to treat influenza A virus (IAV) infection. CMG treatment dramatically reduced the cytopathogenic effect and production of RNAs, proteins and infectious particles of IAV. Interestingly, CMG interfered with the early stage of the virus life cycle after viral attachment. Importantly, the administration of CMG greatly ameliorated morbidity and mortality in IAV-infected mice. The results suggest that CMG displays a potent anti-IAV activity by blocking the early stage of viral replication. Thus, mastic gum could be exploited as a novel therapeutic agent against IAV infection.
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