Pomegranate can help prevent Hepatitis C infection

  • Vanita Srivastava, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 16, 2014 14:03 IST

A new research has shown that pomegranate could be a rich source of certain compounds that can help prevent Hepatitis C virus infection.

Researchers at Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, have found three compounds in pomegranate (punicalin, punicalagin and ellagic acid), which suppress the activity of the research in the area of host-virus interactions have helped developing a number of anti-HCV agents against the single stranded RNA virus. The scientists at IISc found that these compounds from pomegranate suppress the action of a crucial HCV enzyme NS3 protease.

Blockage of NS3 protease activity directly suppresses processing of viral polyprotein, an essential event in the life cycle of the virus. Their research also suggests that these compounds could inhibit virus entry and replication in the host.

The scientists fed the inhibitors to experimental mice and observed that they were readily absorbed in the blood. They were also devoid of any toxic effects.

“Consumption of diet enriched with pomegranate is always good for maintaining healthy liver. Typically 1liter of pomegranate juice should provide 1.5-2g of these compounds. The future generation drugs based on these compounds from pomegranate might help for prevention and control of HCV induced complications.” says the lead researcher Prof. Saumitra Das.

The study titled –‘Small molecule inhibitors of HCV replication from pomegranate was published on June 24 in Scientific Report, a journal from the Nature Publishing Group.

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