A grape a day keeps norovirus away (kind of)

Ah, the humble grape. The cornerstone of palate pleasers from a good wine to a Waldorf salad, the grape has been harboring a secret.

It’s kind of a superhero when it comes to knocking out norovirus.

New research shows grape seed extract reduces the infectivity of norovirus surrogates (viruses that share characteristics with norovirus) by denaturing the capsid protein coating on the virus, according to Science Daily.

When the virus was exposed to the extract, the proteins on the virus’s coat clumped and became deformed. When the virus was exposed to high levels of extract, researchers couldn’t find the protein coats, only debris, according to the article.

So why not test on actual human norovirus? It’s notoriously difficult (impossible, actually) to grown in human cell cultures and animal norovirus substitutes don’t work.

Norovirus is a highly contagious virus that is transmitted from person to person, via contaminated food or surfaces. The virus causes severe foodborne illness and includes symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea and stomach pain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Norovirus is the leading cause of gastroenteritis (read: stomach and intestine inflammation) and of foodborne illness outbreaks in the U.S. and causes roughly 21 million illnesses a year, according to the CDC.

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