Inhibitory effects of bee venom and its components against viruses in vitro and in vivo

J Microbiol. 2016 Dec;54(12):853-866. doi: 10.1007/s12275-016-6376-1. Epub 2016 Nov 26.


Bee venom (BV) from honey bee (Apis Melifera L.) contains at least 18 pharmacologically active components including melittin (MLT), phospholipase A2 (PLA2), and apamin etc. BV is safe for human treatments dose dependently and proven to possess different healing properties including antibacterial and antiparasitidal properties. Nevertheless, antiviral properties of BV have not well investigated. Hence, we identified the potential antiviral properties of BV and its component against a broad panel of viruses. Co-incubation of non-cytotoxic amounts of BV and MLT, the main component of BV, significantly inhibited the replication of enveloped viruses such as Influenza A virus (PR8), Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV), Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), and Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV). Additionally, BV and MLT also inhibited the replication of non-enveloped viruses such as Enterovirus-71 (EV-71) and Coxsackie Virus (H3). Such antiviral properties were mainly explained by virucidal mechanism. Moreover, MLT protected mice which were challenged with lethal doses of pathogenic influenza A H1N1 viruses. Therefore, these results provides the evidence that BV and MLT could be a potential source as a promising antiviral agent, especially to develop as a broad spectrum antiviral agent.

Keywords: anti-viral activity; bee venom; melittin; virucidal effect.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antiviral Agents / chemistry
  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apamin / chemistry
  • Bee Venoms / administration & dosage
  • Bee Venoms / chemistry
  • Bee Venoms / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line
  • Enterovirus / drug effects
  • Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype / drug effects
  • Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype / physiology
  • Influenza A virus / drug effects
  • Melitten / pharmacology
  • Mice
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / drug therapy*
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / virology
  • Simplexvirus / drug effects
  • Virus Replication / drug effects
  • Viruses / drug effects*


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Bee Venoms
  • Melitten
  • Apamin