Montreal Researchers to trial a natural anti-viral treatment with quercetin for COVID-19

Since the 2003 SARS outbreak, Michel Chretien and Majambu Mbikay began testing the idea that a derivative of quercetin, a plant compound known to help with cholesterol maintenance and inflammatory conditions, could fight a range of viruses. The scientists have been invited to conduct human trials in China against the new coronavirus called COVID-19.

Quercetin, a compound derived from plants, is natural compound with anti-viral properties that has already shown potent activity against Ebola and Zika viruses. Because quercetin has already been approved as safe for human consumption by the US-based Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the trial for testing quercetin in patients infected with the new coronavirus or COVID-19 can skip animal testing.

The trial protocol developed by his team at the Clinical Research Institute of Montreal (IRCM) will start with 20-30 patients. The quercetin product will be given and monitored for reaction and positive benefits and then more patients will be given the treatment and monitored. More will follow until they have 1000 patients in the program. It is possible that they will have the results on quercetins potential benefit for treating COVID-19 within 60 days of a clinical trial starting.

Quercetin is a natural product, found in nature and purified from plants such as red onion and it provides advantages in terms of price any other current protocols. Some patients who have been infected with COVID-19 are being treated with a cocktail of anti-viral drugs which costs upwards of $1000 per day. Quercetin would cost on average about $2 per day.

Dr Chretien cautions against “false hope” saying that quercetin’s ability to treat COVID-19 must be proven, but he remains optimistic. Quercetin is not the only possible treatment for COVID-19 and there are currently another 80 clinical trials underway in China.

Quercetin, if it works, will be a low-cost treatment which will be key in slowing the outbreak and avoiding a global pandemic.