COVID-19 is a new infectious respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, a pathogen belonging to the Coronaviridae family, which is a causative agent of worldwide pandemic. Currently there are no approved treatments for COVID-19 and the only way to prevent pandemic is mass vaccination. At the same time the search for a cure for COVID-19 is ongoing all over the world; there are mainly tested the known therapeutic substances, including natural products. This group also includes honey, a natural product known for its antibacterial, antiviral and immunomodulatory properties. The antiviral properties of honey consist in its virucidal activity, inhibition of viral replication, blocking adhesion and penetration into the host cells, activation of immune response and induction of antibodies along with enhancing the antivirals. Honey’s antiviral activity results from the naturally occurring components in honey, mainly flavonoids, phenolic acids and hydrogen peroxide. The variety-dependent antioxidant activity of honeys is correlated with the total content of polyphenols. Dark monofloral honeys (buckwheat, heather, phacelia) show stronger antioxidant properties compared to multifloral honeys and light-coloured monofloral honeys (goldenrod, dandelion, rape, acacia). In in vitro and in silico studies honey and its bioactive ingredients have been shown to be effective in killing SARS-CoV-2, but there is still no evidence that honey is effective in fighting COVID-19. Potential mechanisms of honey action in COVID-19 therapy include: reducing oxidative stress, strengthening the immune response, preventing secondary infections and alleviating the symptoms of comorbidities. In the paper there is a review of the current scientific research, including clinical trials focused on applying honey to treat COVID-19.
SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, honey, antiviral properties, clinical trials