In vitro evaluation of the antiviral effects of the homeopathic preparation Gripp-Heel on selected respiratory viruses.
Gripp-Heel(R) is a homeopathic preparation frequently used in the treatment of respiratory viral infections such as various types of influenza and the common cold. The antiviral activity of Gripp-Heel was studied in vitro on human pathogenic enveloped and nonenveloped RNA and DNA viruses. Before the antiviral assays, in vitro cytotoxicity of Gripp-Heel was determined with cells used for the infection experiments (HeLa, HEp-2, MDCK, BGM) as well as with mitogen-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear leukocytes. A concentration of 0.5 of the commercially available product slightly reduced cell viability and proliferative capacity, and experiments on antiviral activity were determined starting with a dilution of 0.2 of the commercially available product. The antiviral activity was determined against a broad panel of enveloped and nonenveloped DNA and RNA viruses with plaque reduction assay, cytopathogenic assays, virus titrations, analysis of the viral proteins in virus-specific enzyme immunoassays, and haemagglutination tests. Control substances were acyclovir (10 mug/mL), ribavirin (6 mug/mL), and amantadine hydrochloride (5 mug/mL), depending on the virus type. Gripp-Heel demonstrated dose-dependent in vitro activity (significant reductions of infectivity by 20% to 40%) against Human herpesvirus 1, Human adenovirus C serotype 5, Influenza A virus, Human respiratory syncytial virus, Human parainfluenza virus 3, Human rhinovirus B serotype 14, and Human coxsackievirus serotype A9. The mechanisms of this antiviral activity are still unclear, but type I interferon induction might be a possible explanation. Further research on this homeopathic preparation seems warranted.