Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 30022045
Sci Rep 2018 Jul;8(1):10856
The mosquito-borne Zika virus (ZIKV) belongs to the flavivirus genus of the Flaviviridae family. Contemporary epidemic strains of ZIKV are associated with congenital malformations in infants, including microcephaly, as well as Guillain-Barré syndrome in adults. A risk of human-to-human transmission of ZIKV is also well documented. A worldwide research effort has been undertaken to identify safe and effective strategies to prevent or treat ZIKV infection. We show here that extract from Aphloia theiformis, an edible endemic plant from Indian Ocean islands, exerts a potent antiviral effect against ZIKV strains of African and Asian lineages, including epidemic strains. The antiviral effect of A. theiformis extract was extended to clinical isolates of dengue virus (DENV) of the four serotypes in human hepatocytes. A. theiformis inhibited virus entry in host cells by acting directly on viral particles, thus impairing their attachment to the cell surface. Electron microscopic observations revealed that organization of ZIKV particles was severely affected by A. theiformis. We propose a model of antiviral action for A. theiformis against flaviviruses that highlights the potential of medicinal plants as promising sources of naturally-derived antiviral compounds to prevent ZIKV and DENV infections.