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Can Agaricus Blazei Fight Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Written by Carlos Tello, PhD (Molecular Biology) | Last updated:
Puya Yazdi
Medically reviewed by
Puya Yazdi, MD | Written by Carlos Tello, PhD (Molecular Biology) | Last updated:

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Note that each number in parentheses [1, 2, 3, etc.] is a clickable link to peer-reviewed scientific studies. A plus sign next to the number “[1+, 2+, etc...]” means that the information is found within the full scientific study rather than the abstract.

This article is for informational purposes only. The current coronavirus outbreak is an ongoing event and certain details may change as new information comes to light. No effective or FDA-approved products are currently available for the treatment of the new coronavirus (also known as SARS-CoV-2 or 2019-nCoV), although research is still ongoing. 

Anti Infection Potential

In a small trial on 5 people with chronic hepatitis C, Agaricus blazei extract slightly reduced viral load and induced some immune-related proteins [1].

In cell-based studies, Agaricus blazei polysaccharides inhibited the viruses that cause:

  • Poliomyelitis [2]
  • Oral and genital herpes [3, 4]
  • Common flu [5]
  • Western equine encephalitis [6]

Unfortunately, no studies exist even in cells on how agaricus would affect coronaviruses. Even if there were studies in cells, we wouldn’t know if it would translate to humans at all.

Immune Stimulation

Agaricus does have general immune stimulatory properties, which may be good in general if you’re immunodeficient, but no clinical trials have been done with regard to infections, including COVID-19 infections.

The cell wall of Agaricus blazei and other fungi contains β-glucans that are recognized by immune cells and stimulate the immune response [7, 8].

In a clinical trial on 100 women with gynecological cancers, treatment with Agaricus blazei extract increased natural killer cell activity [9].

In cells, beta-glucan-rich Agaricus blazei extracts increased the production of cytokines (TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, IL-6, IL-8, and MCP-1) growth factors (G-CSF), and messenger molecules (nitric oxide and ROS) [10, 11, 12, 13, 14].

In mice, Agaricus blazei extract enhanced the effectiveness of the vaccines against foot-and-mouth disease [15] and hepatitis B [16].

In asthmatic mice, Agaricus blazei prevented allergic episodes by reducing Th2 dominance [17, 18].

About the Author

Carlos Tello

Carlos Tello

PhD (Molecular Biology)
Carlos received his PhD and MS from the Universidad de Sevilla.
Carlos spent 9 years in the laboratory investigating mineral transport in plants. He then started working as a freelancer, mainly in science writing, editing, and consulting. Carlos is passionate about learning the mechanisms behind biological processes and communicating science to both academic and non-academic audiences. He strongly believes that scientific literacy is crucial to maintain a healthy lifestyle and avoid falling for scams.

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