Background: Propolis has been used worldwide as a dietary supplement to maintain and improve human health. We examined whether ethanol extracts of Brazilian propolis exhibit antiviral activity against influenza virus in vitro and in vivo.
Methods: Among 13 ethanol extracts screened in a plaque reduction assay, four showed anti-influenza virus activity. The anti-influenza efficacy of the four extracts was further examined in a murine influenza virus infection model. The mice were infected intranasally with influenza virus, and the four extracts were orally administered at 10 mg/kg three times daily for seven successive days after infection.
Results: In this infection model, only one extract, AF-08, was significantly effective at 10 mg/kg in reducing the body weight loss of infected mice. The doses of 2 and 10 mg/kg were also effective in prolonging the survival times of infected mice significantly, but 0.4 mg/kg was not. The anti-influenza efficacy of AF-08 at 10 mg/kg was confirmed in a dose-dependent manner in mice. AF-08 at 10 mg/kg significantly reduced virus yields in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluids of lungs in infected mice as compared with the control. The reduction of virus yields by AF-08 at 10 mg/kg significantly corresponded to those induced by oseltamivir at 1 mg/kg twice daily from day 1 to day 4 after infection.
Conclusion: The Brazilian propolis AF-08 was indicated to possess anti-influenza virus activity and to ameliorate influenza symptoms in mice. AF-08 may be a possible candidate for an anti-influenza dietary supplement for humans.