Preprint Review Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Hesperidin and SARS-CoV-2: New Light on the Healthy Functions of Citrus Fruit

Version 1 : Received: 23 June 2020 / Approved: 28 June 2020 / Online: 28 June 2020 (08:45:24 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Bellavite, P.; Donzelli, A. Hesperidin and SARS-CoV-2: New Light on the Healthy Function of Citrus Fruits. Antioxidants 2020, 9, 742. Bellavite, P.; Donzelli, A. Hesperidin and SARS-CoV-2: New Light on the Healthy Function of Citrus Fruits. Antioxidants 2020, 9, 742.


Among the many approaches to COVID-19 prevention, the possible role of diet has so far been somewhat marginal. Nutrition is very rich in substances with a potential beneficial effect on health and some of these could have an antiviral action or in any case be important in modulating the immune system and in defending cells from the oxidative stress associated with infection. This short review draws the attention on some components of Citrus fruits and especially of the orange (Citrus sinensis), well known for its vitamin content, but less for the function of its flavonoids. Among the latter, hesperidin has recently attracted the attention of researchers, because it binds to the key proteins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Several computational methods, independently applied by different researchers, showed that hesperidin has a low binding energy both with the coronavirus "spike" protein, and with the main protease that transforms the early proteins of the virus (pp1a and ppa1b) into the complex responsible for viral replication. The affinity of hesperidin for these proteins is comparable if not superior to that of common chemical antivirals. The preventive efficacy of vitamin C, at dosage attainable by diet, against viral infections is controversial, but recent reviews suggest that this substance may be useful in case of increased stress on the immune system. Finally, the reasons that suggest undertaking appropriate research on the Citrus fruits addition in the diet, as a complementary prevention and treatment of COVID-19, are discussed.


Citrus fruits; Citrus sinensis; hesperidin; COVID-19; vitamin C; SARS-CoV-2; sweet orange


Biology and Life Sciences, Food Science and Technology

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