Antiviral bioactivity of renewable polysaccharides against Varicella Zoster

Eiman Abu-Galiyun, Mahmoud Huleihel, Oshrat Levy-Ontman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Although several effective treatments exist against Varicella zoster virus (VZV), resistant strains have emerged and the treatment is usually not definite and may have various undesired side effects. Thus, alternative treatment options are necessary. Here we studied the inhibitory effects of natural polysaccharides (PSs) obtained from renewable sources, varied by their structure and charge, on VZV infection in vitro, using a plaque assay. In terms of selectivity indices, almost all the tested PSs were very active; in the order of λ > ἰ > G > κ > P against VZV compared to Acyclovir as a reference drug and exhibited dose-dependent behavior. Our results, which showed a strong inhibition of VZV infection when the cells were treated with ἰ only at the time of infection or only post infection may indicate a multistep inhibitory effect. It seems that ἰ may block different stages of the virus replication cycle including early steps such as absorption and penetration to the host cells and also late steps after the penetration into the host cells. These results are part of an on-going research that highlights the PSs as potential novel nontoxic candidates that can be used against VZV, and contributes to the elucidation of their mode of action.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3540-3549
Number of pages10
JournalCell Cycle
Issue number24
StatePublished - 17 Dec 2019


  • Anti-viral
  • Varicella zoster virus
  • carrageenan
  • renewable polysaccharides
  • sulfated polysaccharides


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