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Antiviral activity of liquorice powder extract against varicella zoster virus isolated from Egyptian patients



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It may be the lowest activity but they did not test safety and they are from a vaccine company, so we are making progress if there is recognition that liquorice does work.

Acyclovir's common side effects include nausea and diarrhea. Potentially serious side effects include kidney problems and low platelets.

Interferons are actually a part of the immune system. They are a group of signaling proteins made and released by host cells in response to the presence of pathogens, such as viruses, bacteria, parasites, or tumor cells. In a typical scenario, a virus-infected cell will release interferons causing nearby cells to heighten their anti-viral defenses.

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Chang Gung Med J. 2012 May-Jun;35(3):231-9.

Antiviral activity of liquorice powder extract against varicella zoster virus isolated from Egyptian patients.

Shebl RI1, Amin MA, Emad-Eldin A, Bin Dajem SM, Mostafa AS, Ibrahim EH, Mohamed AF.

  • 1Holding Company for Biological Products and Vaccines, Cairo, Egypt.



Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) is the etiologic agent of two diseases, varicella (chicken pox) and zoster (shingles). Varicella is a self- limited infection, while zoster is mainly a disease of adults. The present study was conducted to isolate VZV from clinically diagnosed children using cell cultures and compare the activity of liquorice powder extract, an alternative herbal antiviral agent, with acyclovir and interferon alpha 2a (IFN-α2a) against the isolated virus.


Forty-eight VZV specimens, 26 from vesicular aspirates and 22 from vesicular swabs, from children clinically diagnosed with varicella were isolated on the Vero cell line. Isolates were propagated and identified with specific antiserum using indirect immunofluorescence and immunodot blotting assays. The growth kinetics of the viral isolates was studied. The antiviral activity of liquorice powder extract, acyclovir (ACV) and IFN-α2a was evaluated against the isolated virus.


VZV was successfully isolated in 4 of the 48 specimens, all from vesicular aspirates. The growth kinetics of the viral isolates was time dependent. The inhibitory activity of liquorice powder extract (containing 125 µg/ml glycyrrhizin) when compared to ACV (250 µg/ml) and IFN-α2a is the lowest.


VZV isolates were successfully isolated and propagated using Vero cells. Isolates were identified using indirect immunofluorescent and immunodot blotting techniques. Growth kinetics of the isolates revealed an increase in the viral infectivity titer relative to time. Glycyrrhizin in the crude form has low antiviral activity against VZV compared with acyclovir and interferon.



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