A study shows that vinegar has antiviral properties against SARS-CoV-2.

A study published in the journal PLOS ONE shows that acetic acid, the major component of vinegar, is effective at inactivating the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. (SARS-CoV-2).

The culprit responsible for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, SARS-CoV-2, is a zoonotic RNA virus that causes a wide range of symptoms in humans, from mild flu-like symptoms to deadly pneumonia and multiorgan failure.

The virus affects the upper respiratory tract epithelium first and then travels to the lower respiratory tract, causing serious lung damage. The virus has also been shown to spread throughout the body to other organs. To begin viral entry, the spike glycoprotein on the viral envelope interacts to the human cell membrane receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2).

The virus has been observed to spread directly from infected people to adjacent contacts via large respiratory droplets and tiny aerosols. In addition, viral transmission via contaminated surfaces has been recorded.

The current investigation looked at how efficient acetic acid was at inactivating SARS-CoV-2 and blocking host cell invasion.

Acetic acid is a key active ingredient of vinegar, which is commonly used to eliminate pathogens from fresh produce. It is also known that the component has antiviral properties. Acetic acid, for example, has been demonstrated in tests to disaggregate the surface glycoproteins of influenza viruses, disrupt the viral envelope, and inhibit viral transmission.

Study layout
The researchers looked at the anti-SARS-CoV-2 properties of white distilled vinegar, which contains 6% acetic acid. A modified version of the Median Tissue Culture Infectious Dose (TCID50) experiment was used to assess virus neutralization by acetic acid.

Transmission electron microscopy was used to examine the morphology of acetic acid-treated SARS-CoV-2. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used to test acetic acid’s potential to inhibit the interaction between the SARS-CoV-2 spike receptor binding domain (RBD) and human ACE2 (ELISA).

Inactivation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus

The results of the TCID50 assay demonstrated that 15 minutes of exposure to 6% acetic acid resulted in total long-term suppression of viral multiplication.

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Coronaviruses are generally round-shaped entities with a diameter of about 80 nm. Untreated SARS-CoV-2 transmission electron microscopy revealed morphologically intact structures identical to coronaviruses in the Coronaviridae family.

SARS-CoV-2 was treated with 6% acetic acid, which resulted in significant changes in viral morphology, including malformed structures, a reduced number of viral particles, and disorganized virion structure.

Transmission electron microscopy study of the effect of vinegar on SARS-CoV-2 viral particles (TEM). (A-B) Examples of TEM images. (A) Untreated cells in water (- vinegar) SARS-CoV-2 virus particles exhibit morpho-diagnostic traits of the Coronaviridae family with morphologically intact structure, whereas (B) cells treated with 6% acetic acid (+ vinegar) exhibit morpho-diagnostic features of the Coronaviridae family with morphologically intact structure. SARS-CoV-2 viral particles exhibit aberrant viral morpho-diagnostic features such as malformed structure, fewer viral particles, and disorganized virion structure. A-B 100nm scale bar. Insets are from other photos of the same sample.

RBD-ACE2 interaction spike
ELISA results demonstrated that 6% acetic acid treatment strongly reduced the binding of SARS-CoV-2 spike RBD with human ACE2 at all time points evaluated (5, 10, 30, and 60 minutes). At a 30-minute time point, 6% acetic acid showed the greatest inhibition.

The relevance of the research
The study shows that acetic acid has virucidal properties against SARS-CoV-2. According to the findings, acetic acid at 6% concentration can inactivate SARS-CoV-2 and prevent the interaction between viral spike RBD and human ACE2.

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Acetic acid is found in white distilled vinegar, which is extensively used in households. As a result, the findings support the use of vinegar as a disinfectant to remove SARS-CoV-2 from frequently touched surfaces and thus prevent indirect virus transmission.


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