Elderberries extract effects positive against Birdflu
1.42PM, Wed Jan 18 2006
A extract from black elderberries could be used to combat the bird flu virus, according to research.
A study looked at whether the food supplement Sambucol could combat the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu when added to canine cells in laboratory tests.
The team, from research institute Retroscreen Virology, found that the elderberry-based product was at least 99 per cent effective at reducing the virus in the cells.
But experts warned that many more studies were needed to find out whether the formula was effective in combating H5N1 in humans.
The virulent H5N1 strain of avian flu has already killed more than 80 people, mainly in Asia, after they contracted it from close contact with birds.
But there are fears that the virus could mutate into a form that is easily passed from human to human, leading to a flu pandemic which could potentially kill millions worldwide.
The main medical solutions in case of a pandemic include a vaccine, but this could take up to six months to develop once the strain emerges.
Countries around the world are stockpiling antiviral drugs which can reduce the length and severity of flu symptoms