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Antiviral activity of maca (Lepidium meyenii) against human influenza virus.

To investigate antiviral activity of maca to reduce viral load in Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells infected with influenza type A and B viruses (Flu-A and Flu-B, respectively).

METHODS:

Maca were extracted with methanol (1:2, v/v). The cell viability and toxicity of the extracts were evaluated on MDCK cells using method MTT assay. Antiviral activity of compounds against Flu-A and Flu-B viruses was assayed using a test for determining the inhibition of the cytopathic effect on cell culture and multiplex RT-PCR.

RESULTS:

The methanol extract of maca showed low cytotoxicity and inhibited influenza-induced cytopathic effect significantly, while viral load was reduced via inhibition of viral growth in MDCK infected cells. Maca contains potent inhibitors of Flu-A and Flu-B with a selectivity index [cytotoxic concentration 50%/IC50] of 157.4 and 110.5, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS:

In vitro assays demonstrated that maca has antiviral activity not only against Flu-A (like most antiviral agents) but also Flu-B viruses, providing remarkable therapeutic benefits.

Hainan Medical College. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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