Aarthi Narayanan -- an assistant professor in George Mason University's National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases -- said mosquito-borne Rift Valley Fever virus is an acute, fever-causing virus that affects domestic animals such as cattle, sheep and goats, as well as humans.
"Growing up in India, I was given turmeric all the time," Narayanan said in a statement. "Every time my son has a throat infection, I give turmeric to him."
There's more work to do before curcumin-based pharmaceuticals become commonplace, Narayanan emphasized.
Narayanan's team plans to test 10 versions of curcumin to determine which works best. She also intends to apply the research to other viruses, including human immunodeficiency virus, which causes AIDS.
"It is often not taken seriously because it's a spice," Narayanan said.
"Curcumin is, by its very nature, broad spectrum. However, in the published article, we provide evidence that curcumin may interfere with how the virus manipulates the human cell to stop the cell from responding to the infection."
The findings were published in the journal of Biological Chemistry.
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