The emergence of alphaherpesvirus strains resistant to commonly used antiviral drugs has prompted the research for alternative, biologically active anti-herpetic agents. Essential oils (EOs) have shown anti-infective properties against human herpes simplex viruses (HSV-1 and -2). Caprine alphaherpesvirus 1 (CpHV-1) induces genital lesions in its natural host and it is regarded as a useful homologous animal model for the study of HSV-2 infection, chiefly for the assessment of antiviral drugs in in vivo studies. In the present study we evaluated the activity in vitro of ginger EO (GEO) against CpHV-1. GEO was found to be effective as virucide on cell-free virus, inactivating CpHV-1 up to 100%. The virucidal activity of GEO is likely accounted for by disruption of herpesvirus envelope and its associated structures which are necessary for virus adsorption and entry into host cells. On the opposite, GEO was not able to inhibit virus adsorption and/or replication, as treatment of cells before and after infection did not abolish virus infectivity. GEO could be suggested for topical applications in in vivo experiments using CpHV-1/goat model, since the lipophilic nature of EOs favours their adsorption through the cutaneous/mucosal barrier, either alone or in conjunction with other molecules. These findings open several perspectives in terms of therapeutic possibilities for a number of human and animal alphaherpesviruses.
Keywords: Anti virals; Caprine alphaherpesvirus 1; Essential oils; Ginger oil; Virucidal activity.
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