Possible therapeutic role of a highly standardized mixture of active compounds derived from cultured Lentinula edodes mycelia (AHCC) in patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus

Minerva Gastroenterol Dietol. 2020 Jun;66(2):172-176. doi: 10.23736/S1121-421X.20.02697-5. Epub 2020 Mar 12.


The outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 disease (COVID-19) is currently, March 2020, affecting more than 100,000 people worldwide and, according to the WHO (World Health Organization), a pandemic is shortly expected. The virus infects the lower respiratory tract and causes severe pneumonia and mortality in approximately 10% and 3-5%, respectively, of cases, mainly among the elderly and/or people affected by other diseases. AHCC is an α-glucan-based standardized mushroom extract that has been extensively investigated as an immunostimulant both in animals and/or in humans affected by West Nile virus, influenza virus, avian influenza virus, hepatitis C virus, papillomavirus, herpes virus, hepatitis B virus and HIV by promoting a regulated and protective immune response. Although the efficacy of AHCC has not yet been specifically evaluated with respect to SARS-CoV-2 disease, its action in promoting a protective response to a wide range of viral infections, and the current absence of effective vaccines, could support its use in the prevention of diseases provoked by human pathogenic coronavirus, including COVID-19.

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / pharmacology*
  • Betacoronavirus* / immunology
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Mycelium
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / drug therapy*
  • Polysaccharides / pharmacology*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Shiitake Mushrooms*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Polysaccharides
  • Active Hexose Correlated Compound