quercetin shows promise as treatment for COVID in human studies

Based on in vitro and computer modelling studies, quercetin was one of the early, most promising nutrients for COVID. Finally, the first human studies are here. And the news just got better.

For viruses to do their dirty work, they have to penetrate your cells. Once inside, they hijack the cell’s machinery and use its operations to replicate themselves. If they can’t get into the cell, they are rendered impotent. COVID uses your ACE-2 receptors as the doors into your cells.

The early excitement about quercetin was based on detailed molecular docking and in vitro studies that showed that it can fill the ACE-2 receptor and lock the virus out. Quercetin also neutralizes viral proteins that the COVID virus needs to replicate.

Quercetin is antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immune modulating and antiviral.

The real excitement, though, is that now the first human studies have been published.

In the first, a controlled, unblinded study, 152 people with COVID-19, but not severe symptoms, were given either standard care or 500mg of quercetin phytosome twice a day for 30 days in addition to standard care. Adding quercetin resulted in less people having to be admitted to hospital, shorten length of stay in hospital, fewer people requiring oxygen therapy, fewer people having to be admitted to intensive care and fewer deaths.

While 28.9% of people in the standard care group had to be hospitalized, only 9.2% of the quercetin group did. When they did have to go to hospital, the average stay was 6.77 days in the standard care group but only 1.57 days in the quercetin group. 19.7% of people on standard care required non-invasive oxygen therapy versus only 1.3% on quercetin. These are highly significant benefits. While 10.5% of the standard care group progressed to a very severe condition that required admission to ICU and three of them died, no one on quercetin had to go to ICU, and none of them died (Int J Gen Med 2021;14:2359–2366).

The second study was a 2 week controlled, unblinded study of 42 people with COVID. Half were treated with standard care and half added quercetin. The dose of quercetin was 500mg of quercetin phytosome 3 times a day for the first week and 2 times a day for the second. After one week, 2 people in the standard care group tested negative and 4 had their symptoms partially improved; in the quercetin group, 16 tested negative, and 12 had all their symptoms partially improved. After two weeks, 17 of the remaining 19 tested negative and one died on day 20; all of the remaining 5 people in the quercetin group tested negative, and no one died (Int J Gen Med 2021;14:2807-2816).

These are very promising and exciting early studies on quercetin.

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