Oregano effective against norovirus

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In future, the pizza herb oregano could potentially play a role in fighting gastrointestinal diseases caused by the norovirus. Responsible for this is the substance carvacrol, which not only gives the herb its typical smell and flavour, but also demonstrates antiviral properties. This was discovered by US researchers and published in the "Journal of Applied Microbiology".

Scientists from the University of Arizona conducted their research using the mouse form of the norovirus, which, in its resistance to antimicrobials and disinfectants, is the most similar variant to the human form.

The trials showed that carvacrol acts directly on the capsid proteins, causing the layer surrounding the virus to break down. This enables antimicrobial substances to enter the internal part of the virus and kill it. The researchers believe that the way carvacrol works makes later resistance unlikely. Furthermore, carvacrol is classified as being safe and does not produce any harmful by-products.

"Carvacrol could potentially be used as a food sanitiser and possibly as a surface sanitiser, particularly in conjunction with other antimicrobials", said senior author Kelly Bright. It could be applied in settings where the usage of aggressive substances may be problematic, such as schools, care facilities, hospitals, child day-care centres and rehabilitation centres.