Can Bioactive Lipids Inactivate Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Arch Med Res. 2020 Apr;51(3):282-286. doi: 10.1016/j.arcmed.2020.03.004. Epub 2020 Mar 27.


SARS-CoV-2, SARS and MERS are all enveloped viruses that can cause acute respiratory syndrome. Arachidonic acid (AA) and other unsaturated fatty acids (especially eicosapentaenoic acd, EPA and docosahexaenoic acid DHA) are known to inactivate enveloped viruses and inhibit proliferation of various microbial organisms. The pro-inflammatory metabolites of AA and EPA such as prostaglandins, leukotrienes and thromboxanes induce inflammation whereas lipoxins, resolvins, protectins and maresins derived from AA, EPA and DHA not only suppress inflammation but also enhance would healing and augment phagocytosis of macrophages and other immunocytes and decrease microbial load. In view of these actions, it is suggested that AA and other unsaturated fatty acids and their metabolites may serve as endogenous anti-viral compounds and their deficiency may render humans susceptible to SARS-CoV-2, SARS and MERS and other similar viruses' infections. Hence, oral or intravenous administration of AA and other unsaturated fatty acids may aid in enhancing resistance and recovery from SARS-CoV-2, SARS and MERS infections.

Keywords: Arachidonic acid; Inflammation; Lipoxin A4; MERS; Polyunsaturated fatty acids; Prostaglandins; Protectins and maresins; Resolvins; SARS; SARS-CoV-2.

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus / drug effects*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / drug therapy*
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / pathology
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology*
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / pharmacology
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / drug therapy*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / pathology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Virus Inactivation / drug effects*


  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated