The antiviral effect of mollusk mucus on measles virus

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Measles is a viral disease highly contagious spread by respiratory transmission. Although infection can be controlled by vaccination, numerous cases of measles have been registered in many areas of the world, highlighting the need for additional interventions. Terrestrial gastropods exude mucus on their body surface when traveling, to protect the body from mechanical injury, desiccation or contact with harmful substances. The mucus of mollusks has been studied as a source of new natural compounds with diverse biological activities. In this study, the antiviral activity of the mucus of the land slug P. boraceiensis was demonstrated in vitro using Vero cells infected with measles virus. The crude sample and four fractions were tested in cultures infected with measles virus and the antiviral activity was assessed by the cytopathic effect in infected cell cultures as well as by immunofluorescence and qPCR. Fractions 39 and 50 of the mucus from P. boraceiensis were analyzed by HPLC-DAD-ESI-MS/MS and infrared spectroscopy. A mixture of polyunsaturated fatty acids was found in the two fractions. A reduction in the growth of the measles virus was observed, measured by qPCR, with a protection index of 80% in Vero cells infected with measles and treated with fraction 39. Fraction 39 exhibited the best antiviral action in vitro and high contents of hydroxy-tritriacontapentaenoic acid and hydroxy-pentatriacontapentaenoic acid were found in this fraction.

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