Feb 12, 2014 05:16 AM EST
Order Pizza to Ward off Winter Vomiting Disease, Study
Health experts have always suggested teens and children to stay away from greasy fast food.
But University of Arizona researchers found an ingredient in pizza that could prevent suffering from winter vomiting disease, norovirus.
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Carvacrol, a plant compound in the herb oregano, is found to be effective against the highly contagious disease.
Since the human form of norovirus is impractical to work on, the researchers carried out the experiments on the mouse form of the virus, which is considered to have similar resistance to antimicrobials and disinfectants.
Experiments showed that herb chemical directly attacks the virus capsid, the hard shell of proteins surrounding the virus, causing it to collapse. Therefore, the bugs become more weak and easier to destroy. Since the carvacrol destroys the external proteins of the virus; it is unlikely that the bug will ever develop resistance.
"Carvacrol could potentially be used as a food sanitizer and possibly as a surface sanitizer, particularly in conjunction with other antimicrobials. We have some work to do to assess its potential but carvacrol has a unique way of attacking the virus, which makes it an interesting prospect," Lead researcher Dr Kelly Bright, said in a press release.
Norovirus is a common cause of food-borne illness and numerous cases of food poisoning. Norovirus is problematic is settings such as nursing homes, hospitals, cruise ships, schools, long-term care facilities, child day-care centres, and drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities. The infection disappears within a few days. It presents a greater threat to people with pre-existing medical problems.
Researchers said that the benefits of carvacrol, the primary component of oregano essential oil, can be obtained even through sanitizers. These 'oregano sanitizer' based on carvacrol is safe, non-corrosive and will not produce any harmful fumes or by-products. Since it acts slowly than many disinfectants, such as bleach, experts advice to incorporate sanitizers as part of a regular cleaning regime for long-term antimicrobial residue on surfaces.
The sanitizers make it an ultimate cleaning agent in hospitals, care facilities, daycare centers, schools, and other environments where bleach and other alcohol-based cleaners may pose a health risk.
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The finding is published in the Journal Of Applied Microbiology.