Curcumin Formulations have Antiviral Effects and Prevent Zika Infections
Zika Virus (ZIKV) is a flavivirus, positive-stranded, enveloped RNA virus that replicates within insect and human hosts and can cause severe diseases. The Zika fever is an arboviral disease that results from infection with Zika virus. As an arthropod-borne virus, ZIKV is transmitted to humans by the bite of female mosquitoes of the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus species. Earlier ZIKV was not considered a threat because it had a small geographical spread and mild symptoms like fever, headache, and rashes that were not considered to be serious or dangerous. However, since 2015, 84 countries have reported new instances or the return of ZIKV and it is estimated that almost one-third of the world population could be at risk of infection.
Risk of Zika Virus Infection is Acute
Despite prevention and control measures, the risk of infection from zika virus is quite real, especially in those regions that have a large mosquito vector presence. Recent studies have also associated ZIKV with other diseases like Guillain-Barré syndrome and microcephaly in newborn infants of mothers infected with ZIKV during pregnancy, thrombocytopenia multiple-organ failures, and possibly male infertility. WHO has subsequently declared ZIKV infection to be a public health problem but unfortunately there is no available vaccine or treatment that is effective. The main strategy for controlling ZIKV is to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes but that is not sufficient. However, there is on-going research for an effective antiviral against Zika infections but finding the right solution remains a challenge.
Curcumin an Effective Antiviral for Zika Virus
Among the several compounds studied, researchers have screened curcumin compounds as an antiviral against Zika and chikungunya viruses because curcumin has previously demonstrated antiviral activity. Curcumin, which is a compound in turmeric is used as a food additive and herbal supplement but since it displays medicinal properties and has, therefore, been studied for its antiviral properties. Curcumin has previously been used to prevent or treat other viral infections like dengue virus, herpes simplex virus, hepatitis C virus, and human immunodeficiency virus and also certain cancers. In this way, Curcumin, as an antiviral, has demonstrated multiple effects on viruses and the cells they infect. Curcumin has similarly proved to be an effective antiviral for Zika virus as it has responded to treatment of cells, with up to 5 μM curcumin without impacting cellular viability. This means that as an antiviral agent, curcumin can curb the zika viral growth in infected cells, without aﬀecting surrounding normal cells. Curcumin is now considered to be an efficient antiviral that can be used to treat enveloped virus infections such as ZIKV.
How Curcumin Works on Zika Infections
One of the bio-functions of curcumin is to stop the infection of viruses, by targeting the entry of the virus or attacking those components that are vital for replication of the virus. This is the reason why researchers studying the effects of curcumin have noted that ZIKV was sensitive to curcumin, especially when treatment starts early on, after an infection. However, treatment was most effective when curcumin is administered at the time of infection. Direct treatment of the Zika virus with curcumin can reduce infectivity of virus in a dose- and time-dependent manner. When curcumin is added to cells before or upon infection, it blocks the infectivity of the virus. This demonstrates that curcumin’s antiviral effect begins early in infection and before the virus begins the replication process. Derivatives of curcumin also displayed antiviral activity against these enveloped zika viruses. It was observed that ZIKV lost infectivity when it was incubated directly with curcumin or derivatives of curcumin. This suggests that curcumin alters the ability of the virus to infect cells as it reduces viral replication by inhibiting viral binding at the cell surface.
Bioavailability of Curcumin Formulations
Given the fact that curcumin is easily available and because of its presence in the human diet, the compound can be used for the treatment of zika viral infection. In fact, readily available formulations of curcumin can be taken as a preventive measure against zika infection, especially in areas that have dominant mosquito vector populations. Curcumin is a good antiviral because it has a positive eﬀect when targeting various cellular pathways that help to inhibit the growth and replication of viruses. Curcumin enhanced formulations, that assure bioavailability, can be targeted against viruses and so their scope in preventing zika infections is quite valuable.
Highest Bioavailability of Curcumin & Fast Action Mode
SNEC 30 uses Self Nano-Emulsifying Drug Delivery System (SNEDDS) which makes the properties of Curcumin to multifold. Self nano-emulsifying curcumin capsules (SNEC 30) acts fast with lower doses without causing any adverse effects.SNEC30 forms a stable nanoemulsion in the stomach and bypasses the pre-systemic metabolism followed by absorption through the lipid absorption channel and the Peyers’ patches in the intestines. It also escapes Liver First Pass metabolism and directly reaches the systemic blood through the lymphatic system providing the basis for high Cmax at a very low dose.
Dosage and Safety:
SNEC 30 is completely safe even at very high doses but the ideal dose should be customized according to individual body requirement. Trials generally report very few, if any, adverse effects of SNEC 30 even at very high dose. There have been no reports of toxicity following even large amount of turmeric ingestion.